Men And Women – Our Brains Are Physically Different

“In the prime of life, the cerebral cortex contains 25 billion neurons linked through 164 trillion synapses. Thoughts thread through 7.4 million miles of dendrite fibers and 62,000 miles of axons so compacted that the entire neural network is no larger than a coconut. No two brains are identical, nor are two minds ever the same. Wherever researcher Sandra Witelson looked, she discerned subtle patterns that only gender seemed to explain. Her findings buttress the proposition that basic mental differences between men and women stem in part from physical differences in the brain.”

The Website That Called Fraud On American Poetry Contests

“To make a career in American poetry nowadays you must enter poetry contests and work your way up the prestige ladder. The contests are run by university and small press publishers. Thousands of hopefuls enter their manuscripts, paying a fee of around $25. The publisher is guaranteed a profit. Most contestants are guaranteed to lose. It’s like boxing – just as bloodily competitive and, Foetry alleged, just as crooked.”

Video As Architecture’s Building Block

Moving images are everywhere these days, and increasingly on the surfaces of our buildings. “It is not hard to envision a day when we will live in chameleon cities, when the radiant skin of all new buildings will be programmed to produce an ever-changing array of colors, messages and shows. The movie in the church courtyard involved the transformation of a plain white wall; architects these days are integrating the evanescent image directly into their designs, using video the way their predecessors used cast iron and stone.”

Why Is The West End So Celeb-Happy?

“Take, for example, the Postman Always Rings Twice. On stage we had the dense lacklustre performance of Kilmer, in the audience there was Tracey Emin trying to start a standing ovation and Terry Wogan looking on. Is this what theatre has become? Celebrity Luvve Island? Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls, Ross Geller in Some Girl(s) – oops, sorry it’s David Schwimmer isn’t it, and Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic. Then there’s the audience which is equally star-studded. It’s as if success can only be measured by your sleb count and the length of your ovation depends on the number of stars studding the cast not the quality of the performance.”

In Miami – Not Your Parents’ Opera

Florida Grand Opera has had its best couple of seasons ever at the box office. A great deal of the credit has to go to the company’s new marketing campaign. “So much of the advertising over the years had become . . . focused on the people who are going to be in the audience anyway. So we really launched a campaign . . . of having real-life opera singers who are young and sexy and look like people you’d like to approach at a party.”

Major Sponsor Pulls Support For Edinburgh Fringe Play

A major sponsor at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has withdrawn its support for a play and ordered its logo removed from all publicity surrounding it. “Smirnoff, which sponsors The Underbelly venue, has a reputation for cutting-edge advertising, but the content of Dirty Works, by New York-based British playwright Jamie Linley, has proved too much for the vodka firm.”

All White In The Heart Of America

Robert Trussell has a problem with a Kansas City shakespeare festival’s casting. “Once again, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has assembled an all-white cast for its annual production, which this year is “Much Ado About Nothing.” The festival hasn’t indulged in monochrome casting every year, of course, but minority representation has been a troubling issue since the organization was founded in 1993. I have no doubt that I will hear from a few readers who see this as, well, much ado about nothing. I’ve heard all the arguments before. They usually go something like this: The actors at the Globe Theatre were white, so what’s the problem? There were no Asian, African or Hispanic actors in Shakespeare’s day, so why are you shoving diversity down our throats?”

Airport Art – Ten Years Later

It’s been ten years since Denver’s new airport opened and along with it some very ambitious public art. A decade later it’s instructive to see what art has succeeded and why. “Some remain popular favorites. Some that were delayed have turned out to be hits. Some do not work, or show damage from construction mishaps more than a decade ago, or are difficult to see.”

A “Non-Offensive” Da Vinci Code

How to make a blockbuster movie hit out of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and not offend Catholics? “Controlling that controversy will be the key for Columbia in protecting its investment. That’s why its team of PR experts are sending the message that it will be an enjoyable “popcorn” fiction. The filmmakers are distancing themselves from Dan Brown’s much-vaunted “research” into a private sect that has supposedly kept a 2,000-year-old secret that would undermine traditional Christianity.”