Yale Adds New Batch of Free Open Courses

A quick update for you. Yale University has added its third batch of courses to its open education initiative, bringing the total number of courses to 25. (Find the complete list here.) The latest round is slightly bigger than previous ones, which bucks the trend that we're generally seeing. (Open Courses have been in a noticeable slump for the past year.) Below, I have listed the newly added courses and provided links to iTunes, YouTube, and pages where you can download the courses in various other formats. I have also added these courses to our online collection of Free Courses from top universities. This collection now features over 250 free courses, all ready to download to your computer or mp3 player. iPhone owners can also find many other courses on our free iPhone app.

Barnes & Noble’s Answer to the Kindle

The marketing around the Nook, Barnes & Noble's Answer to the Kindle, has begun, even though the product won't be sold (for $259) until November. Above, you'll find a B&N video that demos the features of the new e-book reader. Gizmodo is already giving the Nook some nice reviews. See 8 Reasons You Can Finally Love Ebook Readers (Thanks to Nook). And you can learn more about the Nook's features over at Engadget.

Ira Glass on the Art of Story Telling

Since 1995, Ira Glass has hosted and produced This American Life (iTunesFeedWeb Site), the award-winning radio show that presents masterfully-crafted stories to almost 2 million listeners each week. What's the secret sauce that goes into making a great story, particularly one primed for radio or TV? Glass spells it out in four parts. Part 1 (above) gets into the building blocks of a good story. Part 2 talks about the importance of finding the right story. Part 3 reassures you that creative excellence takes time to develop. It also comes with hard work. And Part 4 flags common errors to avoid. Give Glass 17 minutes, and you will be a better storyteller for it...

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Wallace Stevens Reads His Own Poetry

This little collection gives you access to Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), one of America's great poets, reading his own poetry. Among the poems, you will hear "The Idea of Order at Key West," "The Poem that Took the Place of a Mountain," "Vacancy in the Park," and "To an Old Philosopher in Rome." For more, you should see our previous post, Listening to Famous Poets Reading Their Own Work, and then below watch the clip below of ever-prolific Yale literature professor Harold Bloom reciting Stevens' "Tea at the Palace of Hoon."

Reader Podcast Picks

Earlier this week, one of our readers, Scott Dumont, offered up some excellent thoughts on a few podcasts that we've previously overlooked. Since he put things so well, I figured why not pass along his thoughts directly to you. Here they go, and thanks Scott ...

I'd like to make three suggestions for additions to your library. Two political podcasts and one historical one. For the political ones, you're lacking in the more independent department; you've got Democracy Now, which is good enough but I'd suggest adding Common Sense with Dan Carlin (iTunes - Feed - Web Site) and My History Can Beat Up Your Politics (iTunes - Feed - Web Site). Common Sense with Dan Carlin is a true independent news show, putting the current politics in perspective and analyzing the disconnect between what is propaganda and what is truth. His description is:

Common Sense with Dan Carlin is a blend of audio commentary and news analysis by one of the leading thinkers among today's politically independent crowd. Author, reporter and talk show host Dan Carlin takes a look at the issues in the news through the prism of his traditional American "forward-thinking pragmatism" while pushing a fiscally conservative, socially liberal approach to solving problems. Whether he's railing against the "Fat Police", explaining the existence of "The Chicken Little Gene" or continually bringing up historical events no one has ever heard of, Carlin manages to be entertaining and informative in a uniquely non-partisan way. His style has been compared to Seinfeld's George Costanza on steroids. Whether that's true or not, he does often talk really fast. You'll have to keep up.

If I had to recommend a few from the ones currently in his feed, I'd say take a listen to the following shows before you decide: "137- A Vote For None", "143- The Black Dog", "146- The Continuity Of Errors""154- A Conflict of Interest", "157- Read It and Weep", "161- Shhh!". I know it's a lot, feel free to pick any of those, but those are probably varied enough for you to get a taste of what he means.

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics is exactly what it sounds like; it puts current political events in a historical perspective and analyzes the history to allow us to understand our politics. For a good sampling, just take a look at this most recent stuff. He's not schizophrenic like Dan Carlin and his show is fairly formulaic, but that's not to say it's not informative. (more…)

50 Intelligent Video Sites

Back in June, we first posted a handy list of web sites where you will find free intelligent videos -- documentaries, classic films, public television programs, university courses & lectures, interviews with big thinkers, etc. The collection has now grown to 50 sites. Below, you can find the first ten sites on the list, and you can check out the complete collection here. Feel free to share it with friends and, of course, tell us if we're missing something valuable by using the comments section below.

1) ABC Documentaries: This site pulls together some of the best documentaries aired on ABC television in Australia.

2 ) Academic Earth: Some call this "the Hulu for education." The idea is to take academic videos from top-notch universities and let users watch them with a very user-friendly interface. Though a young site, many users are giving it high marks.

3) Arkive.org: The site gathers together "the very best films and photographs of the world's species into one centralised digital library, to create a unique audio-visual record of life on Earth." A great site for naturalists and nature lovers.

4) Australian Screen Archive: The Australian National Film and Sound Archive provides free and worldwide access to over 1,000 film and television titles – a treasury of down-under video 100 years in the making.

5) Babelgum: Babelgum's goal is to act as an international 'glue', bringing a huge range of professional and semi-professional content to a global audience – like a modern-day Tower of Babel. They're also making an effort to get their content to smartphones. They have an iPhone app now, and apps for other phones on the horizon.

8) BigIdeas: This show, which comes out of Canada, "offers a variety of thought-provoking topics which range across politics, culture, economics, art history, science.... The program has introduced Ontario viewers to the impressive brainpower of people like Niall Ferguson on American empire, Daniel Libeskind on architecture, Robert Fisk on the Middle East, George Steiner on the demise of literacy, Camille Paglia on aesthetic education, Tariq Ramadan on being a Western Muslim, Noam Chomsky on U.S. politics, Leon Kass on dying, Janice Stein on accountability and governance." See the full list of videos here.

9) BigThink: "Offers high quality video interviews and insight from the world's most influential experts in business, entertainment, education, religion and media." BigThink was founded partly with the help of Larry Summers, formerly the president of Harvard, now Obama's right hand economic man.

9) Bloggingheads.TV: We had several readers highly recommend bloggingheads.tv. Here is how bloggingheads has been described elsewhere: "a political, world events, philosophy, and science video blog discussion site in which the participants take part in an active back and forth conversation via webcam which is then broadcast online to viewers."

9) CultureCatch: CultureCatch.com has over 160 half-hour interviews with today's seminal artists in film, theater, music and literature.  Here you'll find in-depth interviews with smart culture individuals dissecting art, comedy, fashion, film, music, politics, television, theater, even cooking.

10) Edge.org Video:  Edge.org is run by John Brockman, literary agent to some of the most important science writers in the US and beyond. You'll find videos featuring these thinkers on the Edge's web site.

See the full collection of Intelligent Video Sites here

Big Canadian Film Archive Online

A nice tip from Lifehacker. Canada's National Film Board makes 1000s of films (including documentaries, animated films, trailers and some Oscar winners) freely available via the web and now the iPhone. Visit the NFB collection here, and get the free iPhone app here.

via Lifehacker

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