The Study

The 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival starts today in Indio, California.  Over 75,000 tragically hip festival goers have arrived at the Date Capital of the World for what has become, just over a decade since its first installment, one of the most popular music festivals in the country.

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Since the first Zipcars appeared in Boston in June 2000, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding throughout the United States, and even into Canada and the United Kingdom. The company now has a fleet of over 8,000 cars, and over 560,000 members. Yesterday, Zipcar held its IPO, and saw its share price shoot up 56% on a volume of almost 10 million shares. Questions still remain, though, despite the strong IPO: can the price hold up even though Zipcar has never turned a profit?

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Yesterday, ABC announced the cancellation of two long-running soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live. The cancellations leave only four soap operas scheduled to air on the major networks through the end of the 2011-12 television season. (In case you're curious, the four are Days of Our Lives on NBC, General Hospital on ABC, and The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless on CBS. You're welcome.) In the four decades the two shows have been on the air, they have each produced over 10,000 episodes, including just about every plot device you could think of.

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On Wednesday, the publicist of Catherine Zeta-Jones confirmed that the actress had "made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II Disorder." Zeta-Jones, according to media reports, spent five days in the facility, and has already checked out, but the announcement has raised awareness about bipolar disorder, which affects around six million Americans.

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The National Hockey League playoffs began last night, with five of the eight first-round series getting underway. Over the next several weeks, thousands of hockey fans will crowd into arenas around the USA and Canada to watch their teams compete for the Stanley Cup. With the playoffs the culmination of their teams' seasons, fans unsurprisingly take it upon themselves to support the players even more loudly than during the regular season.

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On Tuesday, the Texas Rangers confirmed that star outfielder Josh Hamilton will miss six to eight weeks with a fracture in his upper right arm after sliding into home plate headfirst. Hamilton, the reigning American League MVP, told the media afterwards, "It was just a stupid play. I was too aggressive." Hamilton's injury has reignited the debate over whether baseball players should slide headfirst; some have argued that the headfirst slide is too dangerous, while others have argued that it is faster than sliding in feet first, and can be worth the extra risk.

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This weekend, millions of Americans will hunker down with their IRS forms for the not-so-cherished tradition of filing tax returns. For its part, the IRS uses this last week to warn taxpayers against submitting fraudulent returns: for the ninth year in a row, the IRS has issued a  "dirty dozen list," which, unfortunately, is not a sequel to the 1967 classic war film, but a list of the dozen most common tax scams. But what if the "dirty dozen" list isn't enough to deter a potential tax fraud?

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After Fort Sumter was bombarded, the Union and Confederate armies started to experience the activity soldiers would come to know best: marching. A soldier could expect to cover at least fifteen miles per day when on the march, with forced marches occasionally covering up to thirty miles in a single day. And, like soldiers for centuries before them, the Union and Confederate fighters had to carry a load: in this case, their ammunition, tents and other personal necessities.

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In light of the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, today is Civil War Day at The Study. In this second entry, we consider the cost of the war. As most people learned (or heard but ignored) in history class, over 600,000 soldiers died during the war, a gruesome number unequaled in any other American war. But what about the some three million who survived?

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On this day in 1861, at 4:30 AM, Lt. Henry S. Farley pulled the lanyard on a 10-inch mortar, sparking its charge, and propelling its shell over the still waters of the Charleston Harbor. Seconds later, the shell exploded inside Fort Sumter. The American Civil War had begun. This morning, Fort Sumter marked the 150th anniversary of the first shots of that war, the first of many battle commemorations that will take place between now and 2015.

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