Episode #1241

Björk’s Biophilia and Creative Savants

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Björk Björk (© 2011 Wellhart/One Little Indian)

This week, Björk releases an album too advanced for a CD: each track is also an interactive app. Kurt heads down to Wall Street with an architecture critic to see how protestors have created the space they’re occupying. And our reporter seeks a shortcut to creative ability, talking to scientists who study how savants do what they do.

Private Space Gone Public at Wall Street

Kurt Andersen and Michael Kimmelman head to Lower Manhattan to check out the transformation of Zuccotti Park, the plaza at the center of the Occupy Wall Street protest. Kimmelman is the architecture critic for the New York Times. The protesters haven’t built permanent structures, but Kimmelman believes they are creating ...

Slideshow: On Location at Zuccotti Park

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Björk’s Biophilia

For the last two decades, Björk has pushed every boundary she could find, making just about the weirdest pop music that can still be considered pop music. She’s made beautiful, soulful songs out of electronics, musique concrete, an Inuit choir from Greenland, and her inimitable Icelandic accent that makes English unfamiliar ...

Video: Inside Biophilia's Apps

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Understanding Creative Savants

We all know the Thomas Edison line: genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. But there are those who don't seem to perspire at all. Their extraordinary gifts seem to come from no where. We often call those people savants. And some neuroscientists are trying to understand where their talents come from ...

Slideshow: Art by Joel Gilb, Age 12

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When Once Just Isn’t Enough: Rereaders

A couple weeks ago, Kurt Andersen came clean on Twitter and Facebook. He admitted that (with two small exceptions), he’s never read a book or watched a movie more than twice. “I wonder how weird this is,” he asked. And we asked you to weigh in: Are you an avid rereader or rewatcher? More than a hundred of you responded ...

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Aha Moment: Doc Watson & Abigail Washburn

Abigail Washburn thought she had her goals set. She was on her way to a career in international law based in China when a bluegrass musician stopped her in her tracks. At a party, she heard a recording of Doc Watson singing “Shady Grove” and she fell in love with the banjo. “I was struck by it as something ...

Bonus Track: “Burn Through” from City of Refuge

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On Stage Now: Other Desert Cities

A novelist returns home to her prominent California Republican parents with the manuscript of a new book — a memoir filled with very dirty laundry. Needless to say, the reunion is vexed. Jon Robin Baitz’s play Other Desert Cities just arrived on Broadway, starring Stockard Channing and Stacey Keach. It’s part comedy ...

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