Reactionaries love it, but country music has a progressive heart

Country music deserves better cultural ambassadors.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Donald Trump took the first international trip of his presidency to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, another US icon also travelled along as part of the celebration of the alliance between these two countries: the country-music star Toby Keith.

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Culture & Religion

A map of America’s most famous – and infamous – people

The 'People Map of the United States' zooms in on America's obsession with celebrity

Image: The Pudding
  • Replace city names with those of their most famous residents and you get a peculiar map of America's obsession with celebrity.
  • The multitalented Dwayne Johnson, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dominate the West Coast.
  • If you seek fame, become an actor, musician or athlete rather than a politician, entrepreneur or scientist.
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Strange Maps

The dancing species: How moving together in time helps make us human

"In so far as bodily movements build the brain, every movement a human makes matters."

Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Dancing is a human universal, but why?

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Culture & Religion

The surprising popularity of workplace choirs

It may be growing in popularity, but is there anything substantive to this new wellness trend?

The Ghent Altarpiece: Singing Angels by Jan van Eyck
  • Workplace choirs are becoming increasingly popular in the U.K. and USA, particularly in companies such as Boeing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.
  • Proponents tout choirs as a way to avoid employee burnout, and the research seems to suggest they're right.
  • Singing in choirs comes with a slew of psychosocial benefits that can make the workday a little more bearable.
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Culture & Religion

Love of instrumental music is linked to intelligence, researchers say

From deejays to Debussy, it's all brain food.

Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE / AFP / Getty Images
  • A new study supports earlier suspicions of a link between intelligence and non-vocal music.
  • This may have to do with a taste for novel experiences way back on the savannah.
  • Purely instrumental music may simply be more fresh for brainiacs.
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Mind & Brain