Popular Culture

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From Napster to Netflix: The History and Impact of Streaming Services

After Napster, many consumers got used to entertainment on demand. There was no turning back.
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The Misunderstood McDonald's Hot Coffee Lawsuit

Stella Liebeck was vilified when she was awarded millions after spilling McDonald's coffee in her lap. Her complaint sounded frivolous. But the facts told another story.
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The Surprising Legacy of the Boy in the Bubble

Newborns today are tested for genetic and immune disorders that might not be apparent at birth. The tests evolved from the treatment of a patient with a rare diagnosis who became known as “the Boy in the Bubble.”
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LSD Gets Another Look

LSD has long been associated with 1960s counterculture. Today, psychedelic drugs are back in the lab, providing hope for people who suffer from anxiety, depression and addiction.
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The Modern Bystander Effect

Why don’t people intervene when they encounter violence streaming live online?
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Tabletop to Tablet: Using Dungeons & Dragons to Combat Screen Addiction

The role-playing game ​D​ungeons ​&​ ​D​ragons​, once at the center of a moral panic, is now seen as a counterbalance to the problem of screen addiction.
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How NASA Sold Us a Trip to the Moon

To launch its lunar landing project, NASA had to find ways to convince the American public that the costly, audacious pursuit was essential. One lasting result: Tang breakfast drink.
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Future of Gaming

As gaming becomes the dominant form of entertainment this century, game developers increasingly track player behavior to tailor experiences that will keep people playing longer and spending more money.
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A Trusted Pill Turned Deadly. How Tylenol Made a Comeback

How do some companies regain public trust after something goes seriously wrong, while others fail? A look at how Tylenol responded after someone spiked its pills with poison in the 1980s sheds some light.
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Conspiracy Theories and Fake News from JFK to Pizzagate

Retro Report explores decades of conspiracy theories -- from the John F. Kennedy assassination to Pizzagate -- and what they can tell us about how we view the world today.
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Mr. Pilates

Did you know, the origins of the Pilates workout stem from WWI? Learn more about the fitness regimen Joseph Pilates developed in a British internment camp in this collaboration with PBS, American Experience.
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Activating a Generation: From Live Aid to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Thirty years after "Live Aid" changed the face of charity fundraising, clicktivism has taken center stage. If you share, re-tweet and like, are you making the world a better place?
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The Outrage Machine

In the digital age, where everyday people can suddenly become public enemy number one, how do we strike the balance between keeping free speech alive online and preventing a cyber mob from taking over?
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LSD and Cats

The early science of hallucinogens in the 1950s and '60s was "kind of a Wild West free-for-all." For more info on the science of spiders and drugs, visit www.drpeterwitt.com.
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Growing up Gygax - The Son of D&D's Creator

Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax's son explains what life was like in a household where D&D took center stage.
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Junot Díaz and the D&D Revolution

Why Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz says playing Dungeons and Dragons was a revolution.
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Bliss Point: How Food Companies Make Us Crave Their Products

How did food companies get us to crave their products? They discovered the "bliss point."
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Being in the Bubble

The curious origin of a political metaphor.
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Free Speech VS Censorship: Warnings From Explicit Lyrics to Trigger Warnings

Offended by lyrics they deemed too sexual and violent, Tipper Gore and Susan Baker campaigned to put warning labels on albums in 1985. Years later, warning labels have ended up in some unexpected places.
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Legendary Cartoonist Al Jaffee Recalls Comic Book Censorship

Cartoonist Al Jaffee has been causing mischief at MAD Magazine for decades and at 94-years-old, he's as irreverent as ever. A new series of Retro Report short docs produced for Facebook.
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When Politicians Blame Bad Behavior on Pop Culture

Every so often, Congress holds a hearing on the perils of pop culture. The "peril" has evolved from comic books, to rock and hip hop music, to violence in video games, but the proceedings follow a script.
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Why Pinball Was Banned for Decades

Pinball was illegal? Really?
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Is Multiple Personality Disorder Real? One Woman's Story

In the 1970s, the TV movie “Sybil” introduced much of the nation to multiple personality disorder and launched a controversy that continues to resonate.
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How Prozac Turned Depression Medication into a Cultural Phenomenon

When Prozac was introduced in 1988, the green-and-cream pill to treat depression launched a cultural revolution that continues to echo.