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A number of IS videos feature the songs of Maher Mesh'al, who was killed over the summer in Syria. YouTube

For the Islamic State, music is the ‘alcohol of the soul’

Whether it's the Islamic State, the Ku Klux Klan – or, yes, even American political parties – groups use music in many of the same ways, for many of the same reasons.
Are women really each other’s worst enemies? Probably not. Everett Collection/Shutterstock

The myth that women secretly hate other women has a long history

Depictions of women bullying women are a mainstay of reality television shows, just as reports of Twitter fights between female celebrities are regular tabloid fare. It's a phenomenon with a long history.
Ghana’s education system has been slammed in a new global report. Could making schools more culturally savvy fix the problem? Nic Bothma/EPA

Respecting culture could fix Ghana schools' problems

Critics of Ghana's education system suggest that making local cultural values a fundamental part of the education system will create a happier, more harmonious society.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. REUTERS/Diego Azubel/Pool

How to rebalance Africa’s relationship with China

For sub-Saharan Africa to benefit fully from its growing economic ties with China both parties need to change their behaviour and attitude.
Culture hardly rates a mention in the current Intergenerational Report, or those that preceded it. Mark Roy

Speaking of future generations … let’s not forget culture

Culture is barely mentioned in the latest Intergenerational Report – as was the case with the three preceding it. But we need strong policies to support cultural heritage, and we need them urgently.
Tattoos, bow tie, sunglasses = Hipster. giorgiomtb

Craft beers + beards + bicycles = what? Solving hipster maths

Hipsters are so mainstream now that they’re the subject of mathematical papers. Jonathan Touboul, a mathematical neuroscientist from the Collège de France, claims to have answered one of the great mysteries…
Hadrian’s Wall hasn’t stood in the way of common British culture, and any future boarders wouldn’t either. davidnewgas/flickr

An independent Scotland may strengthen the cultural identity of Great Britain

If a majority of Scots vote Yes for independence on September 18, it will transform our sense of what it is to be British. Still, that wouldn’t mean an end to the common culture of the island – it may…
‘Won’t Star Trek do?’ Suzanne Plunkett/PA

What is a banker doing as the new Minister of Fun?

So we have a new Culture Secretary. I wonder how he rates Daenerys Targaryen’s chances of snagging the most coveted seat of all, the Iron Throne. And whether he thinks Darren Aronofsky has succeeded in…
A nod to the failed opening of the fifth ring in the opening ceremony featured in the closing ceremony … but the underlying cultural aspects are fascinating. ifindkarma/Flickr (cropped)

Sochi’s closing ceremony: the art, the circus and the spectacle

Tasked with winding down the over-exuberance of the build-up, Olympics closing ceremonies always have an anti-climactic tone. Terrorists from the Caucasus failed to disrupt the Sochi event, and the most…

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