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Studio 360

Why Is Pop Music So Sad?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Pop music's not what it used to be. That’s what every generation of grown-ups says about what the kids are listening to, but fogey cliches aren’t necessarily wrong. A recent study in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts tracked the mood of pop ...

Graphic: How pop has become sadder since the 1960s

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Studio 360

3D Sound & Mormons on Broadway

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Kurt Andersen gets a sneak preview of the next big thing in entertainment: 3D sound. Robert Lopez, the composer and co-creator of the hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, sits down at the piano to deconstruct the show. Plus we uncover the secret life of the jazz bandleader Ina Ray Hutton.

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Studio 360

Greg Stock: Redesigning Humans

Friday, August 31, 2012

Nearly a decade after the human genome was decoded, scientists are only now beginning to understand its implications. One of the leading thinkers in this field is the biotech entrepreneur Gregory Stock. His 2002 book Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future ...

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Studio 360

Making Memories with a Microchip

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ted Berger is trying to build a microchip that can remember things for us. He teaches biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, and his goal is to create a device that can take over for the hippocampus of the brain, translating thoughts into long-term memories ...

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Studio 360

Becoming the Bionic Man

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hugh Herr is a leading bionics developer at MIT and a double amputee following a mountain-climbing accident. Herr has developed legs that allow him to climb better than he could previously. With a generation of young injured veterans needing prostheses, the need to build ...

Video: iWalk PowerFoot Gait Animation

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Studio 360

They’re Made Out of Meat

Friday, August 31, 2012

We humans are pretty hot stuff — the most highly evolved species on the planet, or so we like to think. Terry Bisson’s science-fiction parable “They’re Made Out of Meat” suggests otherwise. To some space aliens who think they’ve seen it all, we’re not just primitive. We’re gross ...

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Studio 360

Greg Stock: Humans 2.0

Friday, August 31, 2012

Greg Stock tells Kurt Andersen he thinks technology may allow humans to break free of their natural life span. “We are like a dying animal,” he says, “we are stuck to our bodies and yet our minds can soar.” Stock believes therapeutic interventions to treat diseases like cancer ...

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Studio 360

Neil Harbisson, Cyborg

Friday, August 31, 2012

Neil Harbisson is a painter, a musician, and a cyborg. Born with a rare form of colorblindness, Harbisson can only see the world in grays. In 2004, he collaborated with a scientist to create a device called the Eyeborg, which he wears everywhere — even in his passport picture ...

Video: Neil Harbisson's Sonochromatic Portrait #1

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Studio 360

The Posthuman Future

Friday, August 31, 2012

Everything we’re able to do today to enhance humans — from genetic engineering to artificial limbs — simply improves on the base model we were born with. But for some, that doesn’t go far enough. They think we shouldn’t be stuck with the factory-installed settings in our DNA ...

Slideshow: Transhumanist Art

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Studio 360

Object Breast Cancer

Friday, August 03, 2012

The pink ribbon has been an incredibly successful piece of marketing for breast cancer research. For cancer survivor Leonor Caraballo, though, it's supremely annoying. Caraballo is a sculptor who collaborates with her husband, Abou Farman. The couple came up with a new ...

Slideshow: Tumor as Sculpture

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Studio 360

Can Art Spark a Discovery in the Lab?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Andre Fenton didn’t want his new neurobiology lab at New York University to look like the traditional research space: a mishmash of drab office furniture and cluttered lab benches harshly lit by rows of fluorescent lights. That’s why its core holds a 15-foot-long, one-inch-thick slab of glass. The ...

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Studio 360

The Truth About Kids & Blogs

Friday, July 27, 2012

Planet Tad, a new kids’ book by Daily Show head writer Tim Carvell, is about a 12-year-old who starts a blog in hopes of attracting the attention of Natalie Portman. He struggles with standard preteen fare. But Henry Alford wanted to find out how well it stacked up to reality ...

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Studio 360

Artists and Scientists Riff on Water

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Drink local. The artist Colin Hart has created a public art piece that lets the bravest New Yorkers sample water from the Hudson River (transformed from mucky brown to crystal clear). It's part of an exhibit called Surface Tension that focuses on water: its movement, its growing scarcity ...

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Studio 360

DARCI: A Computer With Great Taste

Friday, July 06, 2012

To make art, a computer first needs to understand what art is. A group of computer scientists at Brigham Young University is attempting this by feeding their program images by the thousands and describing those images. Digital Artist Communicating Intent (she goes by DARCI) recognizes ...

Slideshow: DARCI evaluates art

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Studio 360

Eve Sussman's Algorithmic Noir

Friday, July 06, 2012

A new film premiered last year that is truly one of a kind. whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir was made by Eve Sussman and her collaborators, known as the Rufus Corporation. They shot most of the footage in Kazakhstan, improvising the script and taking advantage of the Soviet Union’s ...

Video: Watch the trailer

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Studio 360

Smart Programs Read Shakespeare

Friday, July 06, 2012

Patrick Winston is Principal Investigator at MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab. He believes that creating better artificial intelligence is not a matter of more powerful processing: we have to teach computers how to think more like humans. “We are a symbolic species,” he ...

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Studio 360

The Computer as Artist

Friday, July 06, 2012

Computers have taken over an astonishing array of tasks humans used to do. They fly our planes, give us directions, recommend books, set us up on dates.  But can they tell us a good story? Meet Brutus, a computer programmed to write fiction.  Through a series of mathematical equations, its ...

Bonus Track: “Self-Betrayal,” written by Brutus

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Studio 360

Lisa Randall: Knocking on Heaven's Door

Friday, July 06, 2012

Harvard physicist Lisa Randall is at the forefront of the search for new theories about how the universe works.  She’s especially interested in dark matter and is involved in work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  And although her work requires complex math and work on the theoretical ...

Bonus Track: Kurt's extended conversation with Lisa Randall

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Studio 360

Hacking Into the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, June 11, 2012

For centuries, artists have come to art museums, set up camp in the corner of a gallery, and sketched the artwork on the walls. Earlier this month, 23 artists used cutting-edge technologies (including 3-D printers and modeling software) to put their own spin on some of the masterworks at the ...

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Studio 360

Music Heals

Friday, May 18, 2012

After piano music helped him recover from brain surgery, Dr. Richard Fratianne became a true believer in music therapy. In the burn unit at the Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center, Fratianne is measuring patients’ stress hormones during procedures to try to prove that music therapy ...

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