Episode #1432

Big Data Meets Culture & Six-Second Movies

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Friday, August 09, 2013

A map showing Voltaire's correspondence created by Stanford's 'Mapping the Republic of Letters' project A map showing Voltaire's correspondence created by Stanford's "Mapping the Republic of Letters" project (Stanford University)

Kurt Andersen finds out how Big Data is helping us decode our culture. The mobile video app Vine brings us six-second dispatches from soldiers in Afghanistan. Thirty years ago, Sue Grafton started a series of novels named for the alphabet, with W if for Wasted out next month. She looks ahead to the end of the series — then, “a long nap.”

In a World Where Blockbusters Bomb

In the past two months, more than a billion dollars in American movie-making and advertising has bombed domestically and internationally. Industry bigwigs have predicted a proximate “implosion” if the major studios continue their strategy. But Linda Obst, who has produced movies ...

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Sue Grafton, A to Z

Sue Grafton grew up pulling noir crime fiction off her father’s shelves in their Louisville home. But it wasn’t until she was in her 40s, already a published novelist and Hollywood screenwriter, that she tried her hand at the genre. In part, it was to escape the movies. “I’m just not a team player ...

Bonus Track: An excerpt from W is for Wasted

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Big Data and Culturomics

Big Data — and how we use it — is changing the way we understand our culture and history.  Research scientists Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean Baptiste Michel teamed up with Google to create the (highly addictive) Ngram Viewer: it sifts through millions of digitized books and charts the ...

Send us your Big Data discoveries

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David Brooks: What Our Words Tell Us

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote that our word choice proves that we’ve become a more individualistic society.  Brooks cited Ngram studies which showed that in the last 50 years, words like “self” and “unique” have been on the rise while “community" and "share” ...

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Six-Second Movies: From Soldiers to the Suburbs

What can you accomplish in six seconds? Unwrap a piece of gum, tie your shoes, or make a very short movie. That’s the premise of Twitter’s video app, Vine — recording video and audio for no more than six seconds. Since the platform launched earlier this year, millions of users have ...

Watch vines from around the world

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Aha Moment: Kenneth Goldsmith & John Cage

Kenneth Goldsmith trained as a visual artist at the Rhode Island School of Design.  In the 1980s, his work became wildly popular with collectors and was shown at some of the best galleries in New York City. “What I had become was a businessman,” he says. “And I did this so I wouldn’t ...

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tonykahn

Check out the trajectories of "humility" and "humiliation."

A steady decline in the first and little if any change in the second.

Aug. 16 2013 04:02 PM
Ellen from Studio 360

Hi Kevin,
I think you are looking for "Live and Learn (The More You Live)" by Desmond Dekker. You can find the song here: http://amzn.to/1a2d52K.

Aug. 13 2013 01:28 PM
walt stawicki from inseattle

having read Texas Ranger Hammer's comment about "bust a cap" on Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde in the famous and deadly ambush, I went to google with no success then found a slang dictionary account from the civil war with the same meaning (shoot )...as well as earlier uses but a different meaning (mis-fire). this books utility only refers to the published book date, not to the usage date. for Hammer the date is 1944. decade late. the civil war use is turn of century...seversl decades after the useage. i did not see references to the misfire meaning. so by itself it leaves some more work to be done which is impossible in an index of books for sale at Amazon...least wise on my phone browser. do the books open up to the phrase on a full browser?

Aug. 11 2013 11:16 PM
Richard from Brooklyn

To David Brooks Republican talking points that the humanities has lost itself by its distraction for issues of Race, Class, Gender while eschewing matters of individual responsibility & redemption Kurt Anderson replies "Well Said"! ..... well Really???

Brooks statement citing big data analysis on word use over decades imply a shift from We to I, to support his view on the social narcissism of recent literature, is pseudo-intellectual at best. To make the leap from Big Data on popular word choice to supporting his Republican talking points is a mile wide stretch for which he provides no supporting evidence. The big data just tells us how much not why, one could also venture that the choice of pronouns has to do with the shift in recent decades to new communications media we inscribe our thought upon. For example, besides he fact that more and more forms of address are issued from the solitude of the text message box, the exponential proliferation of blogs in the past decade highlights a media where one naturally assumes a first person voice. David Brooks again has demonstrated he is good at co-opting and data that may support his ideological perspective the surprising thing here is that Kurt Anderson swallowed Brooks assertion, line and sinker.

Aug. 11 2013 05:25 PM
Matt from Queens

Did David Brooks just say that the humanities are in "decline" because those in them spend "too much time talking about race, class, and gender?" That we should be spending more time talking about "internal improvement?"

Thank you, Mr. Wealthy White Man! I'm sorry I didn't ask you what you wanted to consume before I started to do my life's work!

Aug. 11 2013 11:43 AM
Kevin Groce from Nashville, TN

What was that bumper music? it was a reggae song. I think it said "The More You Love" ?

Aug. 11 2013 11:28 AM

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