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To Apple, Love Taylor

Apple changes its plans, after initially intending not to pay artists during the three-month free trial of its new music streaming service. Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming…

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‘Star Trek': The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in ‘Next Generation’ History

Around 1990, when I was studying for my MA at the University of Virginia (and also working as a writer/editor for the engineering school), I sometimes had 30 people over at my place for “Star Trek parties.” The local TV station aired the show at midnight Sunday. My friends and I would rotate through different locations, but I seem to remember the group had gathered at my place for The Best of…

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A Robotic Dog’s Mortality

Fascinating video journalism from the New York Times. They didn’t shed, chew the sofa or bite the postman, but for thousands of people Sony’s Aibo robotic dog was the closest thing to a real canine companion. So when the Japanese company stopped servicing the robots last year, eight years after it ended production, owners faced a wrenching prospect: that their aging “pets” would break down for good. —The New York Times

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One Man’s Mission To Keep AOL’s Legacy Alive

“Hi. I’m Jason Scott, and I am trying to collect every AOL CD variation ever made.”  Scott works for the Internet Archive, which is kind of like a museum for the Internet. And to him, these CDs are precious artifacts. “They are, in some ways, little time capsules about what online life was and why we wanted to get onto it so badly….  I’m doing it for generations beyond, so — there’s…

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‘My Fair Lady’ Couldn’t Actually Dance All Night, So These Songs Had To Go

Clever little Easter eggs in this article about the history of My Fair Lady refer to lyrics from the show. I played Col. Pickering in high school 30 years ago. One night during “The Rain in Spain,” when Higgins threw the xylophone mallet in the air, it got stuck in the drapes above the stage. I had watched it go up, so the audience laughed when I waited for it…

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Caroll “Big Bird” Spinney was originally to be on NASA’s doomed Challenger flight

And he was even offered a seat as Big Bird on the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 in a bid to get children more interested in the NASA program when Star Wars was all the rage. | But there wasn’t enough room for the costume, which is more than eight feet tall, sparing Spinney from the tragedy that saw the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven people…

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so

We didn’t start the flame war. Scandalous satirical pamphlets were once cranked out by writers and sold at train stations, like so many primordial blog posts. Political cartoons have a long and vicious history. Incivility is our legacy, not our invention. It is part, but only part, of who we are. And have always been. –Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail.