The Gas Mileage Illusion (and the Future of Electric Cars)

Given the sudden national obsession with the price of oil & gas, it seems worth flagging this bit of video put together by two professors from Duke University. Some may find their perspective on gas mileage rather obvious, others not. Either way, it can't hurt to get their point across.

Separately, here's a quick piece on the state of electric cars and when they may be ready for prime time. You'll learn here about the Tesla Roadster, a high-performance electric sports car, that goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and gets the equivalent of 256 miles per gallon. Pretty impressive, even if it costs $109k.

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Great Literature in Three Lines or Less

Here's 1984, Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, The Great Gatsby and other classics boiled down to three lines, courtesy of McSweeny's.

How’s This for a Book Trailer?

A couple weeks ago we talked about a new trend in the book publishing world -- creating promotional videos for new books and letting them go viral on YouTube and other social video sites. Here's one of the better examples I've seen. 12 books by Lemony Snicket get promoted at once. Lots of bang for the marketing buck:


Salman Rushdie’s Book Tour Rolls Through Google

Salman Rushdie's latest book, The Enchantress of Florence: A Novel, has hit the streets. And it comes just three years after his last one, Shalimar the Clown, which makes him a good deal more prolific than many of his contemporaries. (A piece in The Guardian -- The Great American Pause -- notes that many celebrated novelists have been publishing books a bit more leisurely, often once every 10, 12 or even 20 years.) During his book tour last week, Rushdie traveled to Google's HQ, where, among other things, he talked about how he used Google and other online tools to do the historical research for The Enchantress of Florence. The talk runs a good 70 minutes, and it takes you through the process that brought his work from concept to reality. Watch the video below.

Want to know how to add YouTube videos to your iPod? Then check out our piece: 10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget.

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The Candid Side of George Carlin

A quick find ... I wanted to flag a good interview with George Carlin where he talks candidly about his evolution as a comic and the strange trajectory of his career. The conversation was held at the 92nd Street Y in New York. You can download it here: iTunes - Feed - MP3 - Blog Post.

Also see the 92nd Street Y's collection on iTunes here, which we mentioned in our earlier post today.

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iTunesU Goes Beyond The Campus: Spotlight on the ResearchChannel

In case you haven't been watching ... Apple's iTunesU has started striking out in new directions. When it launched a little more than a year ago, iTunesU served up free educational content exclusively from universities. Now, it has gone "beyond the campus."

With this move, Apple is now featuring edifying material from such institutions as The New York Public Library (see our related piece), the 92nd Street Y (nice looking collection here), the National Science Digital Library, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Also in the mix, you'll find podcasts from the ResearchChannel. Based out of the University of Washington, the ResearchChannel brings together content from leading research and academic institutions (see member list here), and then distributes it to consumers mostly through satellite and cable, but also via the web. iTunesU is a fairly new distribution channel. And even newer is YouTube. (See their channel here.)

What kind of content does the ResearchChannel serve up? Here's a sampling of the programs you'll find: Dark Energy, or Worse: Was Einstein Wrong?; Bioenergy and Biofuels: An Overview; The Psychology of Blink: Understanding How the Mind Works Unconsciously; The Teen Brain; and Mesopotamia to Iraq: Perspectives on the Middle East.

The ResearchChannel, I should mention, is not the only venture in this line of business. The UChannel (formerly the University Channel), coming out of Princeton University, offers a rather similar product: Web site - iTunes - Rss feed - YouTube . Likewise, FORA.TV does a good job of aggregating smart video: Web site - iTunes - Rss feeds - YouTube.

For more smart audio content, check our Ideas & Culture Podcast Collection.

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The Danish Poet: The Oscar-Winning Animated Film Narrated by Liv Ullmann

As mentioned this weekend, YouTube has rolled out its new Screening Room, which will make available a steady stream of short independent films for free. The initial lineup includes the 2006 academy award-winning animated film, The Danish Poet, directed by Torill Kove and narrated by Liv Ullmann. Within the Screening Room itself, YouTube doesn't provide the code that will let you embed the short films in blogs such as ours. But I separately found what I needed. So here it is (and yup, it's been added to our YouTube playlist.).

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