Popular Culture

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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?
Image from Tabletop to Tablet: Using Dungeons & Dragons to Combat Screen Addiction
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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.
Image from Conspiracy Theories and Fake News from JFK to Pizzagate
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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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Mini-doc

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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Mini-doc

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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Mini-doc

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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Mini-doc

Being in the Bubble

The curious origin of a political metaphor.
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The Boy in the Bubble

In the early 1970s, an unusual boy captivated the nation. Now, decades later, his story continues to unfold in remarkable ways.
Image from Free Speech VS Censorship:  Warnings From Explicit Lyrics to Trigger Warnings
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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?
Image from How Napster Created the 'Culture of Free'
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How Napster Created the 'Culture of Free'

In 1999, a file-sharing program created in a Boston dorm room sent shockwaves across the music industry and served notice that a major cultural shift was underway.
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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.
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How Hot Coffee Landed McDonald's in Hot Water

In 1992, Stella Liebeck spilled scalding McDonald's coffee in her lap and later sued the company, attracting a flood of negative attention. It turns out, there’s more to the story.