China’s Guangzhou opera house perches on a patch of grass like a spaceship that’s just touched down. (Photo from “Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls” by Victoria Newhouse)
In the last decade, concert hall construction has been booming. And according to architectural historian Victoria Newhouse, these buildings are changing our experience of live music in unexpected ways. She singles out two that reflect the extremes of the concert hall boom: the nearly billion-dollar opera house in Oslo, Norway (where visitors can walk on a slanted roof that leads to water) and the brand new opera house in Guangzhou, China, designed by Zaha Hadid. More.
An image from “The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians” by Sean Connolly.
Connolly is attempting the seemingly impossible — in his new book, he tries to make math fun for kids — with zombies, vampires and pizza.
For instance: How long it would take one vampire to take over a town of 500,000 people, if the vampire bites 2 people a month? (Hint: those two people are then vampires the next month and can bite two more innocent victims each!)
PRI just released our first Multi-Touch book for the iPad!
Reviving the Image of Teachers The book, “Studio 360 Teacher Redesign,” offers a multimedia exploration of a creative initiative to rebrand teachers. Text, photos, audio, video and interactive graphics tell the story of how one teacher’s request to revive the stale image of her profession led to a whole new way to look at and think about the role of educators. More.
You can download the book for free from iBookstore.
Clio Cresswell says couples who compromise the least tend to have the longest-lasting relationships. She also says that out of 100 possible partners, you’re mathematically likely to make the right choice if you pick the most attractive person who’s left after 37 dates.
Cresswell lectures in math at the University of South Wales in Australia and is the author of “Mathematics and Sex.” In this interview from To the Best of Our Knowledge, she explains how you can use mathematics to aid you in your love life.
"If you picked 12 people, and then choose the next best after that for you — so that could be number 13 or 105 — that will give you an over 75 percent chance of picking someone in the top 10 or 20 percent," Cresswell said.
Who’s the best model of the politically engaged writer? George Orwell, said the late Christopher Hitchens.
According to Hitchens, Orwell got it right about imperialism, fascism and communism. In this archival interview on To the Best of Our Knowledge, Hitchens tells Steve Paulson that Orwell opposed all of them at a time when most intellectuals ignored the contradictions of the Left.
(Photo: George Orwell’s press card portrait taken in 1933. From Branch of the National Union of Journalists (BNUJ))