The Pulitzer Prize winning emcee Kendrick Lamar recently asked a white fan to refrain from rapping the n-word. A video recording of the incident has reignited a controversy that gained wide attention last year. In this 2016 file photo, Kendrick Lamar performs in New York. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP, File)

White people should never rap the n-word: A linguist breaks it down

‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’ was the first modern drug memoir and set the tone for opium use for decades. Here: Papaver somniferum (Opium poppy), a group of deep red flowers, buds and seed pods. Opium is extracted from the latex of the unripe seed pods. Ripe seeds are innocuous and widely used in baking. (Rowan McOnegal/Wellcome Collection)

The 19th century memoir that spawned the opioid crisis

Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding dress was encrusted with over 10,000 pearls, included a 7.62 metre train, and inspired the “puffy sleeve” trend. RR AUCTION HANDOUT

Royal weddings have always shaped fashion

When Queen Victoria donned white for her wedding in 1840 she started a trend that continues today. Other royal weddings have proved to be just as influential.
A still from the documentary Migrant Dreams which streams this month on Al Jazeera’s Witness. Shasha Nakhai

Documentary exposes ‘Canada the Good’ myth

Canada's reputation as a land of opportunity is challenged by Migrant Dreams, a documentary that explores the lives of migrants as they navigate dangerous and exploitative working conditions.
Bertrand Russell is seen in this 1935 photo. (Creative Commons)

Bertrand Russell & today’s tumultuous world

The work of Bertrand Russell, philosopher, social critic, mathematician and anti-war crusader, are still relevant today. Here's why fans should take in the Russell collection at McMaster University.
Q-Tip (L) of A Tribe Called Quest performing in 2013. Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA

Why hip-hop needs to be taken more seriously

A greater synergy between academics and practitioners is needed to progress hip hop for it to be taken seriously as a core area for study.
Unfortunately for the intrepid astronauts in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, a Space Odyssey, the HAL 9000 computer knows how to read lips. IMDB

AI: The story since ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Since Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece debuted in 1968, fictional stories of faulty or malevolent AI are legion. What have recent advances taught us and what might the future hold?
A woman shares a mint julep with her husband before the running of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. David Goldman/AP Photo

The Kentucky Derby: A mint julep to stay cool

'Take a silver cup – always a silver cup' and 'fill it with ice pulverized to the fineness of snow,' a Kentucky man explained in 1908.
In Season Two, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) reclaims the identity stripped from her by GIlead. SBS

Handmaid’s Tale Season 2: A #MeToo moment

In the much awaited second season of the TV series, Offred is more openly defiant than she was in Margaret Atwood's novel. Still, the first two episodes remain true to the themes of Atwood's book.
Kendrick Lamar performs during the Festival d'ete de Quebec on July 7, 2017. Amy Harris/AP Photo

Rap music’s path from pariah to Pulitzer

Hip-hop heads around the world are rejoicing over Kendrick Lamar's win. But it's been a tumultuous ride for a genre once derided as 'pornographic filth.'
Kanye West is seen in this August 2015 photo accepting the video vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Bromance alert: Kanye West and … Jordan Peterson?

Kanye West is making headlines for his support of Donald Trump and remarks about slavery being a choice. The rapper has also signalled he's a fan of controversial Canadian professor Jordan Peterson.
Barn Hammer Brewing Company Head Brewer Brian Westcott, Matt Gibbs of the University of Winnipeg and Barn Hammer owner Tyler Birch teamed up to re-create an ancient beer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

The taste of an ancient Graeco-Roman beer

Beer is the most consumed beverages in the world with a long history. What does the ancient art of brewing tell us about culture and tastes?
‘Love, Simon’ tells the story of a gay teenager who is ‘just like you’ - a mainstream comedy first - but what happens when they are not just like you? (20th Century Fox)

Homophobia: Old problem, new disguise in ‘Love, Simon’

Given the progress gay rights have made over the last 40 years, we might believe we live in queer friendly North America and that homophobia is dead. But it's not. It is just in disguise.

Quote of the Day

De Quincey’s descriptions of his opium experience have thoroughly shaped modern perceptions of the drug...He glamorized opium in his Confessions, linking it to spectacular dream sceneries, visionary forms of creativity and intellectual, moral and emotional bliss. Robert Morrison Professor of English Language and Literature, Queen's University, Ontario

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