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Lincoln’s last play; or, the continuing fascination with “Our American Cousin”

E. A. Sothern as the foppish and silly Lord Dundreary stole the show. His part was originally small, but his ad libs were received so well by the audience that his part was expanded. Our American Cousin wasn’t just the last play President Lincoln saw.  It  was one of the great commercial successes of its day.  It made a star our of E. A. Sothern and cemented the reputation of…

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The dark future of American space exploration: NASA’s golden age is about to come to a thudding halt

I remember, as a kid, being thrilled by the images that came in from the Voyager flybys in the late 70s and 80s. I wrote a fan letter to NASA when I was about 11, and received a big stack of glossy publications on the Space Shuttle and commercial technologies spun off from NASA inventions. If NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto is extended beyond 2017, the entire active human presence at…

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Police respond to Twitter bot sending death threat to another Twitter bot

Jeffry built himself a harmless little Twitter bot. His intent was to create something that remixed his previous tweets into new — and hopefully coherent — sentences. No big deal, right? Except that when his bot happened to pick up on a tweet from another Twitter bot and made mention of a specific event, the resulting output looked a bit too much like a death threat. Whoops! –Geek.com.

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Why teens are leaving Facebook: It’s ‘meaningless’

However, there’s a silver lining for Mark Zuckerberg, as his company owns Instagram and WhatsApp, a popular messaging service. Whereas the company used to try to “clone the competition,” according to Bosker, Facebook has started acquiring its heirs. If teens are fickle and always looking to the next big thing, it’s smart to make sure you also own that property. –The Washington Post.

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We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.

A chemist celebrates the liberal arts. Our culture has drawn an artificial line between art and science, one that did not exist for innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. Leonardo’s curiosity and passion for painting, writing, engineering and biology helped him triumph in both art and science; his study of anatomy and dissections of corpses enabled his incredible drawings of the human figure. When introducing the iPad 2,…

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Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her

Justine Sacco is the PR exec whose tweet about AIDS went viral last year. It turns out that the angry Twitter mob that called her racist and unprofessional just might have been uninformed about the whole story. Imagine that! An apology to Justine Sacco had been itching at my throat from the moment I saw her. I was afraid to say it—because who knows what else I should be sorry…

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Paparazzi-proof clothing that’s embedded with reflective glass

This article featuring reflective clothing designed to overload cameras is actually more interesting to me because of the focus on how the crowd-sourced idea process works. Glass nanospheres are bonded to the fabric and act as little reflective lenses, which gives the clothes their shine. “It’s taking light and shoving it right back into the camera, which is what blows up the exposure,” Wheeler explains. –CNN.