Weekly Wrap – June 30

It’s a wrap for the week:

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Philosophy Bites

Back when we started out, we mentioned a radio show -- and now podcast -- coming out of Stanford that offers a “down-to-earth and no-nonsense approach” to philosophy that’s engaging, if not entertaining. It's called Philosophy Talk, and you can catch some of the old programs on iTunes.

Now, about 6,000 miles and eight time zones away, another philosophy podcast, Philosophy Bites (iTunes - Feed - Web Site), has been launched in England by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton (see bios here). Interviewing top philosophers, the two delve into some essential philosophical questions -- what is the meaning of life? what is the nature of reality? what is evil?, etc. And then they get into some other good questions: Can philosophers contribute to public life, and is wine tasting subjective?

The latest podcast (which can be accessed via the feed, but not yet via iTunes) features an interview with Alain de Botton, who has managed to write snappy bestsellers that tackle philosophical questions. It takes a rare writer to pull that off, and his books are definitely worth a look. After launching his career with How Proust Can Change Your Life, he has more recently published The Consolations of Philosophy and The Architecture of Happiness. And it is this last book that the latest podcast revolves around.

As a final note, Nigel Warburton has also put out another podcast, Philosophy: The Classics (iTunes) in which he reads from a recently published book with the same title. You may want to give it a listen.

For more podcasts along these lines, see our Arts & Culture podcast collection.

Miles and Coltrane on YouTube: The Jazz Greats

One of our readers tipped us off to a couple of vintage jazz clips on YouTube. First up is footage of Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing a nice rendition of "So What," the leadoff tune from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (1959), an album that ranks at the very top of the jazz canon. There is a reason why it has five stars and 649 reviews on Amazon. It's just a damn good album.

Next up, we give you Coltrane playing "My Favorite Things," which was first released in 1960 on an album with the same title. This complex reworking of the song made famous by The Sound of Music came to be Coltrane's most requested tune. And the video (1961) shows Trane literally and figuratively breathing new life into the soprano saxophone.

French Podcasts – Learn French

Our collection of podcasts will help you start speaking Mandarin or Cantonese. To learn more languages, see our complete collection of foreign language lesson podcasts.

  • French for Beginners iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Fun, effective lessons for beginners. Provided by the French Ecole.
  • Le Journal en français facile iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Nightly news from RFI presented in slowly spoken French to assist you with your comprehension.
  • Learn French by Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A well-reviewed series of lessons for beginners and those who want to brush up on their French.
  • Learn French with Daily Podcasts iTunes Feed Web Site
    • These lessons are brought to you by French teachers from Paris. They are best suited for those who already have some beginning French under their belts.
  • Ma France iTunes Feed Web Site
    • The BBC offers 24 video podcasts that will teach you French.
  • Mali French Feed Web Site
    • The Peace Corps teaches you some of the French spoken in Mali.
  • The French Pod Class iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A very popular collection that teaches students the French language and different facets of French culture.
  • The Verbcast - French Verbs by Relaxation iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A four-week series of lessons that will allow you to refine your knowledge of French verbs.

English Podcasts – Learn English

Our collection of podcasts will help you start getting comfortable in English. To learn more languages, see our complete collection of foreign language lesson podcasts.

  • Business English iTunes Web Site
    • Learn the English you will need to function effectively in an American business environment.
  • English as a Second Language Podcast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A very well liked collection of ESL lessons. Over 100 episodes in the collection.
  • English for Spanish Speakers (’Por Fin Aprende Ingles’) iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Si usted haya asistido al menos a un curso de ingles, y usted necesita la oportunidad de escuchar al ingles y hablar el ingles, entonces ‘Por Fin Aprende Ingles’ es el podcast perfecto para usted. Presentado por Carla Staufert-Sauvier, una profesora de Mexico, y Jade Lindquist, una profesora de los EE UU.
  • ESL Business News iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A weekly podcast of international business news read in slow, clear English. Listen to the podcast and follow along in the accompanying script.
  • On Demand English iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Daily podcasts that will teach you English and American customs. Well done.
  • The Bob and Rob Show: Weekly English Lessons from a Yankee and a Brit iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Taking a more unconventional approach to teaching English, this program uses humor to teach intermediate-to-advanced students idioms, grammar, and slang in both American and English flavors.
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