The Wilhelm Scream is Back

The Wilhelm Scream, named after Private Wilhelm, a character in the 1953 Western film The Charge at Feather River, has appeared in over 140 Hollywood films, including Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Reservoir Dogs, and others. (See full list here.) Now the scream is coming back. According to the LA Times, the scream will again echo through cinemas with the May 7 release of Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2. Above, you can watch a montage of The Wilhelm Scream. Naturally, the ur-scream comes first. Thanks Veronica for the tip on this one!

Harvard Comes to iTunes U

Since 2007, Apple has offered universities around the world a way to distribute educational media via iTunes U. Fast forward to 2010, Harvard has now set up its own iTunes U section, with more than 200 audio and video tracks covering everything from the Harvard Kuumba Singers to a course on Justice with prominent political philosopher Michael Sandel. Other highlights include:

For free courses from Harvard and other fine institutions, visit our collection of Free Online Courses.

via MacWorld

Wes Alwan lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he works as a writer and researcher and attends the Institute for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture. He also participates in The Partially Examined Life, a podcast consisting of informal discussions about philosophical texts by three philosophy graduate school dropouts.

The Essential Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa, the great Japanese director, would have turned 100 today. And to mark the occasion, The Guardian has assembled a handy guide to ten key Kurosawa movies. Above, we highlight a clip from Seven Samurai (1954), an enormously influential film both in Japan and abroad. The Guardian guide celebrates this and nine other major Kurosawa films, so it's definitely worth a visit. Meanwhile, you'll conveniently find two important Kurosawa works (Rashomon and Throne of Blood) listed in our collection of Free Online Movies.

Our Thirsty World: A Free National Geographic Download

A little belated something for World Water Day (yesterday): National Geographic has released a special issue that delves into the challenges facing our most essential natural resource. "Water: Our Thirsty World" will be soon available at newsstands everywhere. But, right now, you can now download a free interactive version that includes all of the print magazine content, plus lots of extra online goodies. The free download requires registration and is available only until April 2.

A great find by Maria Popova aka @brainpicker

For a Tiny Instant, Physicists Broke a Law of Nature

An intriguing bit of news from the Yale Bulletin. It begins:

For a brief instant, it appears, scientists at Brook haven National Laboratory on Long Island recently discovered a law of nature had been broken.

Action still resulted in an equal and opposite reaction, gravity kept the Earth circling the Sun, and conservation of energy remained intact. But for the tiniest fraction of a second at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), physicists created a symmetry-breaking bubble of space where parity no longer existed.

You can read more about what went down here. And, if you want to brush up your physics, head over to the Physics section of our Free Online Course collection. There you'll find free physics courses from Yale, Stanford, MIT and other fine institutions of higher learning.

Nature by Numbers: Short Film Captures the Geometrical & Mathematical Formulas That Reveal Themselves in Nature

For centuries, artists and architects have used some well-known geometrical and mathematical formulas to guide their work: The Fibonacci Series and Spiral, The Golden and Angle Ratios, The Delauney Triangulation and Voronoi Tessellations, etc. These formulas have a reality beyond the minds of mathematicians. They present themselves in nature, and that's what a Spanish filmmaker, Cristóbal Vila, wanted to capture with this short film, Nature by Numbers. You can learn more about the movie at the filmmaker's web site, and also find his latest film here: Inspirations: A Short Film Celebrating the Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher.

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Amazon Releases Kindle App for the iPad & Mac OS X

A quick fyi: Amazon has released an app that will let you read Kindle texts on your Mac (finally!) and the upcoming iPad. If you're looking for free Kindle texts, we've produced a long list here, including many great classics. You can find Kindle apps (all free) for other devices below.

Thanks Wes for the info...

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