John Cleese: ‘Does it make you laugh?’

Laughing is so contagious that we often forget how subjective humor is.

  • People have very subjective senses of humor, which means some jokes may be funny to certain people but not at all for others.
  • It can be hard to notice just how subject humor is because laughter has an infectious effect on people. This phenomenon is especially true in large groups of people.
  • When it comes to reviewing what jokes to put into a show, test it on friends and family to see which parts evoke laughs from them and which parts don't.

The surest path to success is not aiming for success

The Zen of choreographer Merce Cunningham comes alive in a new documentary about his life.

Photo by Miko Malkshasyan / Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
  • In Cunningham, director Alla Kovgan brings the avant-garde dancer to life.
  • Merce Cunningham's seven-decade career left behind some of the most important modern dances in the twentieth century.
  • In this interview with Big Think, Kovgan discusses how she approached the film while sharing Cunningham's ideas about success.
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Joy Harjo named first Native American poet laureate

"I share this honor with ancestors and teachers who inspired in me a love of poetry," the 68-year-old poet said.

J. Vespa / Contributor
  • Joy Harjo is a poet, author and musician, and is an active member of the Muscogee Nation.
  • Poet laureates are charged with overseeing poetry readings at the Library of Congress, and with promoting poetry to the nation.
  • Harjo succeeds poet and educator Tracy K. Smith.
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Why the scholarly journal industry needs oversight

What an academic sting on humanities journals really means to the rest of us. And to academia.

  • Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian
  • A trio of academics have just admitted to writing nonsense articles and getting several of them published in scholarly journals.
  • The articles were created to have phony data, absurd arguments, and conclusions that the journals' review boards would accept.
  • It raises questions about academic rigor in some journals, but claims that this debunks entire branches of the humanities are unfounded.
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