The Conversation

Why Pennsylvania, the Keystone State we call home, unlocks the White House

Why Pennsylvania, the Keystone State we call home, unlocks the White House

Pennsylvania emerged as one of the key swing states crucial for determining the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election. The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, who is from the city of Scranton in the northeast of Pennsylvania, took the lead in the vote count on Nov. 6 as he edged closer to the White House. As […]

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Sean Connery was ‘Bond, James Bond,’ but so much more in his storied career

Sean Connery was ‘Bond, James Bond,’ but so much more in his storied career

Coverage of the passing of Sir Sean Connery has inevitably been dominated by his legacy as the screen’s first – and best – James Bond. Connery’s “Bond, James Bond” moment near the beginning of “Dr. No” (1962) is one of the iconic moments of cinema history and has spawned countless imitations and parodies. Perhaps the […]

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3 lessons learned from horror pioneer George A. Romero in these scary times

3 lessons learned from horror pioneer George A. Romero in these scary times

I’m no fan of horror movies. At least I wasn’t until I moved from Hollywood back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, where I met the legendary independent filmmaker George Romero, best known as the inventor of the modern-day zombie and movies like “Night of the Living Dead.” I had avoided seeing George’s movies for two […]

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How Eddie Van Halen changed rock music with his signature guitar style

How Eddie Van Halen changed rock music with his signature guitar style

The legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died aged 65. One of the most influential guitarists of the modern age, Van Halen was known for his mastery of the two-handed tapping technique and for bringing the virtuosic rock guitar solo back into the popular music mainstream in the late ’70s and 1980s. One of the […]

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Netflix’s ‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ – why Henry James’ eerie tale still inspires so many adaptations

Netflix’s ‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ – why Henry James’ eerie tale still inspires so many adaptations

New on Netflix, “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is the latest in a long line of adaptations of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” (1898) that began in 1954 with Benjamin Britten’s opera. Since then, there has been more than 25 others. Adapters’ enduring fascination with James’ “irresponsible little fiction” can be summed up […]

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Regal Cinemas’ decision to close theaters is latest blow to film industry on life support

Regal Cinemas’ decision to close theaters is latest blow to film industry on life support

A film industry in free fall just suffered its latest blow. Cineworld Group, the owner of Regal Cinemas, announced that it would suspend operations at all of its locations in the U.S. and U.K. as crowded theaters continue to be seen as Petri dishes for a virus that shows no sign of abating. [In Northeastern […]

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Movie theaters survived pandemics and home video before, but can the film industry adapt this time?

Movie theaters survived pandemics and home video before, but can the film industry adapt this time?

Since the start of the pandemic, the film industry has been in free fall. As deaths have continued to climb, so have studio losses, with crowded theaters – once a source of collective entertainment and escapism – now seen as Petri dishes for the virus. Familiar blockbuster franchises whose summer releases studios banked on to […]

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Staying safe as states start to reopen and assessing risk when reconnecting with friends and family

Staying safe as states start to reopen and assessing risk when reconnecting with friends and family

Editor’s note: Now that states are relaxing social distancing restrictions, people desperately want to see friends and family, go to a restaurant, and let our kids have playdates. Even grocery shopping sounds fun. But how can you do that and still stay safe? Here, an epidemiologist who is immune-compromised himself walks you through some decision-making. […]

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How to shop safely at the grocery store amid the coronavirus pandemic

How to shop safely at the grocery store amid the coronavirus pandemic

Wear a mask, but skip the gloves. Don’t sanitize the apples. And if you are older than 65, it’s probably best to still order your groceries online. As a food virologist, I hear a lot of questions from people about the coronavirus risks in grocery stores and how to stay safe while shopping for food […]

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How drawing helped a Penn State professor cope with his mental illness and combat stigma

How drawing helped a Penn State professor cope with his mental illness and combat stigma

I’ve lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn’t good enough, that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable, and that I had to find a way […]