Open Culture

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The Sounds of Blade Runner: How Music & Sound Effects Became Part of the DNA of Ridley Scott’s Futuristic World

<i>Blade Runner</i>, among its many other achievements, stands as quite possible the only 35-year-old science-fiction movie whose visual effects still hold …

Science Fiction

Hayao Miyazaki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books

Once upon a time, books served as the de facto refuge of the “physically weak” child. For animation legend, Hayao Miyazaki, above, they offered an …

Literature

Watch The Cure’s First TV Appearance in 1979 … Before The Band Acquired Its Signature Goth Look

Many fans of the Cure first encountered them with 1987’s <i>Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me</i>, a double album filled with bouncy pop confections like “Why Can’t …

Culture

Watch Clouds Roil Through the Grand Canyon: A Beautiful Timelapse Film Captures a Rare Full Cloud Inversion

From producer and editor Harun Mehmedinovic comes a pretty breathtaking timelapse film of a rare phenomenon at the Grand Canyon. Writes …

Nature

Timelapse Animation Lets You See the Rise of Cities Across the Globe, from 3700 BC to 2000 AD

Last year, a Yale-led research project produced an innovative dataset that mapped the history of urban settlements. Covering a 6,000 year period, the …

Culture

The Story of Habitat, the Very First Large-Scale Online Role-Playing Game (1986)

Long before <i>World of Warcraft</i>, before <i>Everquest</i> and <i>Second Life</i>, and even before <i>Ultima Online</i>, computer-gamers of the 1980s looking for an online world …

Culture

Watch a Mesmerizing Hourglass Filled with 1,250,000 “Nanoballs” (Created by the Designer of the Apple Watch)

Apple Watch designer Marc Newson has created an hourglass that stands about 6 inches tall, measures 5 inches wide, and features 1,249,996 tiny …

Apple Watch

How Finland Created One of the Best Educational Systems in the World (by Doing the Opposite of U.S.)

Every conversation about education in the U.S. takes place in a minefield. Unless you’re a billionaire who bought the job of Secretary of Education, …

Education

An Animated History of Tea

Self proclaimed tea geek, Shunan Teng’s knowledge of her chosen subject extends well beyond the proper way to serve and prepare her best-loved …

Culture

Beat Club, the 1960s TV Show That Brought Rock Music to 70 Million Kids in Germany, Hungary, Thailand, Tanzania & Beyond

It took a bit longer for the youth rock revolution to hit German televisions compared to the United States--where <i>American Bandstand</i> was already in …

Slavoj Žižek Names His 5 Favorite Films

Anyone who has read the prose of philosopher-provocateur Slavoj Žižek, a potent mixture of the academic and the psychedelic, has to wonder what …

Culture

Kurt Vonnegut Ponders Why “Poor Americans Are Taught to Hate Themselves” in a Timely Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five

Amidst what is now an ordinary day’s chaos and turmoil in the news, you may have noticed some outrage circulating over comments made by erstwhile …

Literature

Large Choir Sings “Black Hole Sun”: A Moving Tribute to Chris Cornell

They paid tribute to Prince last year. Now they're doing the same for Chris Cornell. Choir!Choir!Choir!–a group that meets weekly and sings their …

Chris Cornell

“A Brief History of Goths”: From the Goths, to Gothic Literature, to Goth Music

The history of the word ‘Gothic,’” argues Dan Adams in the short, animated TED-Ed video above,” is embedded in thousands of years’ worth of …

Literature

Animations Show the Melting Arctic Sea Ice, and What the Earth Would Look Like When All of the Ice Melts

It’s no secret that climate change has been taking a toll on the Arctic. But it’s one thing to read about it, another thing to see it in action. …

Global Warming

Stanford Researchers Discover a Smarter Way to Prepare for Exams: Introducing MetaCognition, the Art of Thinking About Your Thinking

Early in the second season of Noah Hawley’s excellent <i>Fargo</i> series, one of the gruff, laconic Gerhardt brothers shakes his head during a tense crime …

Culture

Hear 4+ Hours of Jazz Noir: A Soundtrack for Strolling Under Street Lights on Foggy Nights

Nowadays few crowds seem less likely to harbor criminal intent than the ones gathered to listen to jazz, but seventy, eighty years ago, American …

Jazz

The Library of Congress Makes 25 Million Records From Its Catalog Free to Download

A quick fyi: According to <i>Fortune</i><i>,</i> The Library of Congress announced that it “will make 25 million records from its catalog available for the public …

A Big List of Free Art Lessons on YouTube

It may seem like a dubious honor to belong to a select group that includes some of my favorite creative people: art school dropouts. But while a …

Digital Art

Visit a New Digital Archive of 2.2 Million Images from the First Hundred Years of Photography

Interested in photography? You’re in the right place. Over the years, we’ve compiled free classes on digital photography, hundreds of photography …

Photography

How Famous Paintings Inspired Cinematic Shots in the Films of Tarantino, Gilliam, Hitchcock & More: A Big Supercut

It’s no accident that one of the best-known series of cinema-analyzing video essays bears the title <i>Every Frame a Painting</i>. When describing the height …

Culture

Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover Gets Reworked to Remember Icons Lost in 2016

We’re just days away from the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ <i>Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club</i> <i>Band.</i> And, as we mentioned last week, …

Music

Meet Yasuke, Japan’s First Black Samurai Warrior

“His name was Yasuke. His height was 6 <i>shaku</i> 2 <i>sun</i>” — roughly six feet, two inches — “he was black, and his skin was like charcoal.” Those words come …

Culture

Lou Reed Creates a List of the 10 Best Records of All Time

If you want to write, most every writer will tell you, you’ve got to read, read, read, and read. “Read more than you write,” advises Teju Cole. Even …

Music

Take a Trip Through the History of Modern Art with the Oscar-Winning Animation Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase

The artistic morphing is already underway before the very first frame of filmmaker Joan Gratz’ 1992 Oscar-winning animation, <i>Mona Lisa Descending a</i> …

Cool Stuff

36 eBooks on Computer Programming from O’Reilly Media: Free to Download and Read

This past week, we featured a free course on the programming language Python, presented by MIT. A handy resource, to be sure.<p>And then it struck us …

O'Reilly Media

Twin Peaks Essentials to Get You Ready for the Debut of Season 3: A 55-Minute Refresher, Maps, Commercials & Behind-the-Scenes Footage & More

Have you prepared yourself to return, this Sunday, to Twin Peaks, that small Washington town, so well known for its coffee and cherry pie, once …

TV

Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Sings Haunting Acoustic Covers of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” & Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”

I entered high school to the huge sounds of Soundgarden’s second album, <i>Louder than Love</i>, playing at home, in friends’ cars, on MTV’s <i>120 Minutes</i> late …

Chris Cornell

An Animated Alan Watts Waxes Philosophical About Time in The Fine Art of Goofing Off, the 1970s “Sesame Street for Grown-Ups”

<i>Time is a measure of energy, a measure of motion. And we have agreed internationally on the speed of the clock. And I want you to think about clocks</i> …

Cool Stuff

Learn Python with a Free Online Course from MIT

The programming language Python takes its name from Monty Python (true story!), and now courses that teach Python are in very high demand. Last …

Learning