Culture & Society

Consumer discovery in the age of Instagram

Discovery is an elusive experience even for consumers armed with today’s tools like Instagram. More precisely, it is a highly quixotic and frustrating process for anyone searching for the new or novel such as entrepreneurs, explorers, inventors, artists, musicians, and craftspeople. For them, discovery means being contrarian in the face of accumulating mistakes and failures. …

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Rarity and connectivity – the case of Sicilian tailoring

This week’s Economist highlights the EU’s plan to build a “Malmo-Palermo express” linking the north and south. The funding of a “Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor” is quite substantial. The reason for this investment is that the southern reaches of Europe around the Mediterranean have lagged on most economic measures behind the rest of western Europe for decades. …

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Two works of lyrical modernity

This evening I attended a concert at Walt Disney Hall featuring LA Philharmonic players performing the String Quartets Nos. 10-12 by Shostakovich. The program notes describe these pieces as works of “philosophical lyricism”. I agree completely. These quartets combine a remarkably vibrant lyricism shot through with a sense of fracture and alienation that is quintessentially …

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