Arthur C. Clarke Retrospective

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer most well known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, has passed away. (You can read his obit here.) Below, we have posted a video recorded last December for his 90th birthday. Touching in many ways, the video offers a good reminder of how much our world changed during his 90 years.

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Demystifying the Credit Crisis & the Fed (Serious and Not So Serious)

This bit of audio (MP3 - Feed - Web Site) lucidly explains what happened at Bear Stearns, and why the Fed acted as it did. It's worth a good listen if you've been trying to piece together the logic. The audio comes from the News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

[Update: I'd also recommend this piece from the New York Times. It does a good job of explaining the bigger picture.]

On a less serious note, we also have a video that explains the credit crisis with the help of a country music jingle. More astute viewers will note the name of the singer, Merle Hazard, is an allusion to the concept of "moral hazard" that's mentioned in the audio above.

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Google Sky, Moon and Mars

Here's what you get when Google engineers put their heads together with astronomers from large observatories: With Google Sky, "you can search for planets, listen to Earth & Sky podcasts, watch some beautiful Hubble telescope images, or explore historical maps of the sky from the comfort of your browser." The product was rolled out just last week, and you can get more info on the new release from Google's official blog.

The new Sky product sits comfortably alongside Google Moon and Google Mars, which have been around since 2005-2006. Created in conjunction with scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center, Google Moon offers a collection of lunar maps and charts and delves into the Apollo missions. The Mars product, meanwhile, offers some of the most detailed existing maps of the red planet.

For more good science, see our Science Podcast Collection here.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A merry, musical St. Pat's greeting to you from your Irish-American correspondent, presented by his three favorite muppets:

via BoingBoing

100 Best Last Lines from Modern Novels

Put together by the American Book Review, this list (which comes in PDF format) serves up some of the great last lines from modern literature. Ranking number six on the list is a passage that I happened to read just yesterday: “Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” –Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926).

via Gawker via Kottke

Intelligent YouTube Channels

Below, we have gathered together some of the most intelligent video collections on YouTube. A great place to find culturally enriching video...


  • @GoogleTalks
    • Google has lots of famous visitors speaking at its headquarters, and they're all recorded and neatly presented here.
  • Al Jazeera English
    • The Middle Eastern news service, which has generated its share of controversy, now airs broadcasts in English and presents them here.
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Amnesty International
    • The leading human rights organization brings you various videos outlining human rights concerns across the globe, and the work they're doing to improve conditions.
  • Artists Space
    • Artists Space supports contemporary artists working in the visual arts, video and electronic media, performance, architecture and design, and it promotes artistic experimentation and dialog in contemporary culture.
  • Aspen Institute
    • An international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue.
  • Bad Astronomy
    • Bad Astronomy is devoted to debunking myths and misconceptions about astronomy, and also to slap down without apology bad thinking in all its forms.
  • BBC
    • A series of videos promoting programs coming out of Britain's main media outlet. Unfortunately many of these videos are short and not entirely substantive. A missed opportunity.
  • BBC Worldwide
    • Ditto.
  • Big Think
    • This collection brings you videos featuring some of today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers.
  • BoingBoingTV
    • These videos are brought to you by the makers of the very popular BoingBoing blog.
  • British Film Institute National Archive
    • The BFI (British Film Institute) promotes understanding and appreciation of Britain's rich film and television heritage and culture. And it claims to have the "world's largest and most diverse film and TV archive."
  • Brooklyn Museum
    • A fairly rich lineup of videos exploring the collections at Brooklyn's main art museum.
  • Canal Educatif
    • CED is a philanthropic producer of free high-quality educational videos in the domains of arts, economics and science.
  • Charlie Rose
    • PBS interviewer Charlie Rose presents segments of his nightly interviews.
  • Cinetic
    • Cinetic brings audiences the latest, greatest and classic festival favorites from around the globe. From award-winners by veteran filmmakers to up-and-coming talent telling new stories, Cinetic prides itself on being at the forefront of quality indie film in the digital space.
  • Citizen Tube
    • YouTube's own channel presents videos dealing with the American political process and the 2008 election.
  • Computer History Museum
    • A good number of videos that delve into computers, networking, and semiconductors.
  • Council on Foreign Relations
    • A resource designed to provide insight into the complex international issues challenging policymakers and citizens alike.
    • Videos that keep a close eye on the inner-workings of the American political process.
  • DailyHitchens
    • Christopher Hitchens and more Christopher Hitchens.
    • Delivers video presentations from the world's great writers, leaders, activists and thinkers.
  • Guardian Unlimited TV
    • The Guardian brings you videos that make the television world its focus.
  • Gizmodo
  • Google Tech Talks
    • The name kind of says it all.
  • Harvard University Press
    • HUP, a major publisher of non-fiction, scholarly, and general interest books, brings you videos with new authors.
  • HBO
    • Provides outtakes from new HBO productions. The videos are all short and largely promotional. Give us some beef, sirs.
  • KQED on Demand- San Francisco
    • Media provided by the public broadcasting company in the San Francisco Bay Area. I drink at this well daily.
  • MoMA
    • Videos highlighting the art collection, public programs, and temporary exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
  • Monty Python Channel
    • Their videos have been circulating around YouTube for a while. Now, the comedians have their own channel. A good place to have a laugh.
  • National Geographic
    • The collection is rich, but the videos are short. Another instance where the provider could use the medium to offer more substance/depth.
  • New Scientist.
    • Videos and vodcasts covering science, technology, space, the environment and a whole lot more. An international team of expert journalists brings you the latest innovations and ideas in science and technology, from the wonderful to the worrying to the weird.
  • NOVA
    • Short video outtakes from PBS's popular science program.
  • Oscar's Channel
    • The official channel of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the only place to relive favorite Oscar® moments and see exclusive interviews with the talented film professionals who comprise the Academy membership. Includes some good vintage clips.
  • Philip Scott Johnson
    • Some great videos that put art in motion.
  • PBS
    • Promotes new PBS programming with painfully short videos.
  • PoliticsTV
    • Political videos with a progressive bent.
  • Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
    • The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting's mission is to promote in-depth coverage of international affairs, focusing on topics that have been under-reported, mis-reported - or not reported at all.
  • ReelNASA
    • Videos show the latest happenings at NASA and new developments in space exploration.
  • Reuters Video
    • The latest video from Reuters.
  • Richard Dawkins
    • The channel features talks by Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist, as well as others influenced by his thought.
  • ScienCentral
    • ScienCentral, Inc. produces science and technology content for television, video, and the web. From broadcast news features to educational products, they cover the medical, environmental, and technological issues that affect daily life.
  • Slate
    • Video from Slate Magazine
  • Spoken Verse
    • Roger Ebert calls it one of the richest resources on YouTube. Spoken Verse offers over 400 readings of great poems in English, from Shakespeare to today.
  • Steve Spangler Science Show
    • Catch the videos produced by a teacher nationally known for making science fun.
  • Sundance
    • Provides video clips from original series and films airing on the Sundance Channel.
  • The Alcove
    • A program that features interviews with various influential thinkers.
  • The American Museum of Natural History
    • This channel provides a rare glimpse into the Museum's exhibitions, scientific research, public programs and educational endeavors. Videos presented by the Museum highlight its global mission to advance scientific discovery and increase understanding of nature and human cultures.
  • The Commonwealth Club (San Francisco)
    • Videos coming out of the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, presenting topics ranging across politics, culture, and society.
  • The Commoncraft Show
    • The Common Craft Show is a series of short explanatory videos by Lee and Sachi LeFever. The goal is to fight complexity with simple tools and plain language.
  • The Davos Question
    • Every year, global leaders attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss how to better the world. Here you get to see what they have to say.
  • The Kahn Academy
    • This channel features over 800 videos that will teach students the ins and outs of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, finance, physics, economics and more. The clips have been recorded by Salman Khan.
  • The Library of Congress
    • Timeless treasures and contemporary presentations from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Features recordings dating from the earliest Edison films to the present.
  • The New York Times
    • All the news that's fit to stream.
  • The New Yorker
    • The official video channel of The New Yorker magazine.
  • The Nobel Prize
    • Brings you fascinating insights into the minds of current and past Nobel Laureates.
  • The Onion News Network
    • A good dose of funny videos from The Onion. Good for when you need some comic relief.
  • The Real News
    • The Real News Network is a global online video news network that listens to and is dependent solely on its audience. No ads. No government subsidies. No corporate sponsorship.
  • The Research Channel
    • Based out of the University of Washington, the ResearchChannel brings together content from leading research and academic institutions.
  • The World Bank
    • Videos coming out of the institution whose goal is to rid the world of poverty..
  • The YouTube Screening Room
    • Provided by YouTube itself, this collection presents high quality, independent films to web users and promises to roll out four new films every two weeks.
  • Thirteen WNET (PBS New Your)
    • Features content from New York City's flagship public television station.
  • YouTube Movies
    • YouTube now hosts a series of complete studio movies on its site. Above, I've linked you directly to the documentary/biography section. But feel free to peruse the larger collection. You'll find some good films there.
  • TED Talks
    • Generally engaging videos coming out of the annual TED conference. Features important thinkers from different walks of life.
  • TED x Talks
    • In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
  • Travel Channel TV
    • The Travel Channel brings you around the world on YouTube.
  • Vanity Fair Magazine
    • Videos from the magazine launched in 1913.
  • WNYC Radio
    • Videos provided by WNYC, New York Public Radio, the largest public radio station in the US.
  • World Economic Forum
    • The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
  • Yad Vashem
    • Containing the world's largest repository of information on the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is a leader in Holocaust education, commemoration, research and documentation.
  • 92nd Street Y
    • Pretty much anyone and everyone on the cultural radar passes through the 92nd Y in NYC.


Spotlighted Collections

Other University Collections

  • On this page, you'll find some of the highest quality open courses out there.

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History, Power and our Global Society

Here's a new, free course from Stanford University. Taught by James Sheehan, the History of the International System (iTunes) offers a historical view of international politics in the 20th century, exploring how international players have attempted to project their will and protect their interests, all while negotiating fluid and not always manageable external forces. The course looks back at communism, fascism and liberalism, then moves through the Cold War to the present day, and ends with current events in Iraq. An important historian and one of Stanford's finest lecturers, Sheehan was recently President of the American Historical Association. So far four lectures have been posted (see here), and there will be more to come.

NOTE: This course has been added to our collection of Free Online Courses, where you can find about 120 top-notch courses.

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