Anxious Times – A Stanford Roundtable

What happens when you get America’s leading minds in a room to talk about the major threats of the 21st century — terrorism, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, energy shortages, etc? Well, frankly you get a little scared … and a bit more aware of the complexities of our globalized world.

Stanford University recently hosted a roundtable led by Ted Koppel, which brought together Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Yahoo co-Founder Jerry Yang, and Stanford President John Hennessy, among others. The event, entitled “Anxious Times Seeing Beyond a World of Perpetual Threats,” is now available for free as a podcast in both audio and video. It’s perhaps one of the more educational podcasts that you’ll come by.

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion

As E.O. Wilson gives, Richard Dawkin’s takes. Everything evens out.

Richard Dawkins is biologist of international stature, too. But while Wilson is extending olive branches, Dawkins is taking no prisoners.  Bent on "convincing the literate public that they must now take evolutionary theory seriously," Dawkins, a scholar of evolution (who has brought us The Selfish Gene and The Ancestor’s Tale) has taken an offensive posture in recent years against the evangelical contingent looking to replace evolution theory with intelligent design. Now, with The God Delusion, he is going directly after religion itself. In today’s political culture, a complete dismissal of religion in the name of atheism and science is a hard thing to come by (unless you’re reading Sam Harris or Daniel Dennett). But here you have it. Currently, the number #2 bestseller on, The God Delusion has clearly tapped into something. On one level, the strong sales can be attributed to Dawkin’s book being the latest volley in the ongoing culture war that has propelled many books – most of the them mediocre – to the top of charts. (Currently, Bill O’Reilly’s Culture Warrior is #10 on the Amazon charts. So there you go.) But on another level, it could have something to do with the fact that religion is nowadays very au courant, and, the room to take an agnostic or atheistic position has all but disappeared in the American public sphere. So, when a strong, unapologetic defense of atheism comes along, there may well be a pent up desire – at least, in some corners of the country – to embrace what Dawkins has to say.

Although some mainstream reviewers have questioned whether he makes the best case for atheism, it nonetheless remains true that Dawkins is one of our leading public intellectuals and can make his case with style and verve, something that comes across in his 11/1 NPR interview and this BBC broadcast, both well worth a listen.

On a somewhat less serious note, it also seemed worth posting Richard Dawkin’s interview with another character who has been making news this week — Ted Haggard, the evangelical minister who has been embroiled in a sex scandal and had to resign his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that boasts 30 million members.

E.O. Wilson’s Olive Branch: The Creation

A world renowned biologist, devoted Darwinist, and unabashed secular humanist, Harvard’s E.O. Wilson has taken an intriguing religious turn with his latest work, “The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth.” A Baptist by upbringing, Wilson offers literally a sermon addressed to America’s large and growing evangelical community. The essence of the message is simple: We might have our political and intellectual differences, but, when it comes to staving off environmental disaster, we need to put our simmering differences aside and work together to solve a problem that affects us all. We need to save God’s creation. If you consider the divide between red and blue America, you’d figure that Wilson’s overture would fall on deaf ears. But, as Wilson tells it on NPR, it’s anything but the case, and the first signs suggest that the culture wars aren’t blinding either side from the much bigger issues at stake.

Recent reviews:

Washington Post: “Science and Salvation

New York Times: “God is Green

The Christian Post “Heeding Edward O. Wilson

Free Educational Web Resources

Online Texts & Text Search

  • Authorama
    • This site provides many important public domain texts in a free, easy-to-read format.
  • Bartelby
  • Electronic Text Center Collections
    • Organized by the University of Virginia, this collection features 70,000 electronic texts, ranging across many topics and languages. This collection holds a great deal of texts from the American and English literary tradition (poetry, essays, fiction etc.). The Modern English collection is particularly robust.
  • Episteme Links – Philosophy e-texts
    • From this site, you can search by name for texts written by individual philosophers, and the site will then point you to them.
  • European Literature
    • This site will conveniently direct you to collections of literary e-texts from different European countries.
  • Google Book Search
    • Once fully developed, Book Search will ideally let users search the world of print text and help them discover new books and ideas. You might particularly want to check out the area dedicated to Shakespeare.
  • Google Scholar
    • Provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Includes peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. You can get more information about the scope of the product here.
  • HighWire Press
    • The same idea as Google Scholar above. Actually much of HighWire’s content is contributed directly to Scholar’s content collection. So you can access HW material in essentially two places.
  • Internet History Sourcebooks Projects
  • Live Academic Search (Microsoft)

    • Windows Live Academic Search is Microsoft’s version of Google Scholar.
  • Making of America
    • Assembled by the University of Michigan, this site offers a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection currently contains approximately 9,500 books and 50,000 journal articles.
  • Online Books Page
  • Oxford Text Archive
    • The OTA works closely with members of the Arts and Humanities academic community to collect, catalogue, and preserve high-quality electronic texts for research and teaching. It’s an extremely rich collection, ranging from ancient texts to modern.
  • Perseus Digital Library
    • A database offering access to over 600 primary and secondary texts focusing on the Classical World. Here, you’ll find Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, among other works.
  • Philosophy on eServer
    • Another site that offers access to canonical philosophical texts, from Aristotle to Derrida.
  • Project Gutenberg
    • Contains 19,000 free books in full text.
  • The New York Times First  Chapters Collection
    • Access the complete first chapters of books reviewed in NY Times Book Review, or appearing on the bestseller lists.

Web Directories


Stay tuned — this page will be under continual and active development.

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Free University Online Courses

This page is no longer updated, please our new collection of Free Courses from leading universities.

  • Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
    • A collection of free online courses and course materials. Courses range from physics and chemistry, to french and statistics, to economics and calculus.
  • Columbia University – The Fathom Archive
    • This archive, provided by Columbia University, offers access to a complete range of free content developed by member institutions for Fathom. The member institutions included the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, London School of Economics, British Museum, and British Public Library, among others.

  • Columbia University – e-Seminars

    • Columbia offers here a series of e-seminars, which are three to five hour online classes. Registration is required. However, Columbia offers a 60-day free trial before asking for payment.
  • Cornell University
  • Harvard University
    • CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion. Click here to access. Also see Open Culture description.
    • Homeric Odyssey and the Cultivation of Justice. Cick here to access.
    • Understanding Computers and the Internet. Click here for more info.
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health – OpenCourseWare
    • The project provides access to course materials from the school’s most popular courses.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
    • Provides access to MIT syllabi and course materials for educators, students,
      and self-learners around the world. MIT is the leader in the OpenCourseWare initiative.
  • MIT OpenCourseware (with Video and Audio)
    • While
      MIT’s OpenCourseware initiative mostly focuses on providing educators
      with syllabi, reading lists and lecture notes for MIT courses, the
      university has decided to provide more complete video and audio
      elements for some courses. You can access the list here.
  • Notre Dame OpenCourseWare
    • A very diversified set of educational resources for faculty,
      students, and self-learners throughout the world.
  • OpenCourseWare
    • The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 100
      higher education institutions worldwide committed to creating free and open digital publications of high quality educational materials. Here you can find a complete list of universities offering OpenCourseWare.
  • OpenLearn
    • The Open University’s OpenLearn website provides free and open educational resources for learners and educators around the world.
  • ParisTech “Grad School” OpenCourseWare
    • A large collection of free course materials presented by eleven of France’s foremost scientific and engineering institutions.
  • Tufts OpenCourseWare
    • Following MIT, Tufts is making available its syllabi, reading lists and course materials for educators around the world. They’re putting a focus on medicine, dentistry, nutrition, foreign relations, and arts & sciences.

University Video

University Radio Shows

  • Georgetown University Forum

    • The Georgetown University Forum is a weekly radio program highlighting
      the research and expertise of Georgetown University faculty.

Stay tuned, this page will be under continual and active development!

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Open Culture in the Media

Recent mentions of Open Culture in the media:

07/08 – Haaretz – article

06/08 – The Chronicle of Higher Educationblog post

05/08 – MSN SympaticoArticle

01/08 – The Chronicle of Higher Educationarticle

12/17 The Chronicle of Higher Education – Wired Campusarticle

11/07 Guest on FORA.tvhere

10/23/07 Boing Boing – blog post

10/2007 Smart Money: The Wall Street Journal Magazine (Print edition. Page 132)

08/08/07 El Pais – article

6/05/07 The Chronicle of Higher Education – podcast

5/16/07 Lifehacker – article

5/01/07 Engadget Spain – article

3/21/07 PBS’s MediaShift – article

3/13/07 Future Tense (American Public Media) – blog + interview

2/09/07 Future Tense (American Public Media) – blog

2/08/07 Houston Chronicle – article

1/07 Web Search – “Best of” Gallery

“One of the best places on the Web to find educational media.” “Open Culture

is one of the best sites I’ve come across lately for a wide variety of

not only university podcasts, but anything related to culture and

educational media.”

1/20/07 blog

1/11/07 Future Tense (American Public Media) – interview + blog

1/04/07 Christian Science Monitor – article

12/07/06 Der Spiegel’s Ehrensenf – article

12/08/06 TUAW.COM – blog

“Open Culture, the website which recently brought TUAW readers a dose of podcast culture, reports on a series of 22 podcasts available from the New York Times. … I’m quickly becoming a big ‘open culture’ fan, as they keep digging up these great podcast media finds.”

Smart Talks – Leading Thinkers in Multi-Media

Here you can get direct access to audio and video presentations by leading thinkers in our society. Next to each entry, we’ve noted the media format in which each presentation is delivered. Just click and enjoy.

Also See Open Culture’s Podcast Collections:

Arts & CultureAudio BooksForeign Language LessonsNews & InformationScienceTechnologyUniversity (General)University (B-School)University (Law School)Podcast Primer




Political Commentary

Science & Technology

Business Leaders

World Leaders

This is a new and growing list. Stay tuned for more.

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Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free

Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!

Download hundreds of free audio books, mostly classics, to your MP3 player or computer. Below, you’ll find great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Fiction & Literature

<<Get All Fiction & Literature>>


<<Get More Non-Fiction>>


Audio Book Podcast Sites

  • Librivox iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Librivox should be your first stop when looking for audio books. It’s the biggest and best collection. Then there are the others.
  • Audiobooks with Annie iTunesFeedWeb Site
  • Audio Literature Odyssey iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • A collection of classics. Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, etc.
  • BMW Audio Books Web Site
    • Here you’ll find four short stories issued by BMW and Random House.
  • Chris Anderson Free: The Future of a Radical Price Zip File
  • Classic Poetry Aloud iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • These poetry podcasts provide readings of the great poems of the past.
  • Classic Tales Podcast iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • The whole point is to make unabridged classics not only available, but approachable.
  • iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Podcasts that bring quality crime stories to an audience worldwide. Produced by crime writer Seth Harwood.
  • Escapepod iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Collections of well-reviewed audio short stories.
  • Web Site
    • Audio versions of key texts from American history.
  • Great Books – A Chapter a Day iTunesWeb Site
  • Great Speeches in History iTunesFeedWeb Site
  • JC Hutchins iTunes Feed Web Site
    • The author of the 7th Son Trilogy has made available more than 200 hours of audio and video stories and interviews, all of which are available for free download.
  • Kara’s Free AudioBooks iTunesFeedWeb Site
  • Learn
  • Haverford College – Classic/Ancient Text Read Aloud iTunesWeb Site (see site for feeds)
  • Internet Archive
    • Listen to free audio books and poetry recordings courtesy of the Internet Archive.
  • Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture
  • Lit2Go iTunesWeb Site
    • An extensive collection of free audiobooks provided by the University of Southern Florida.
  • Literal Systems
    • Free classic books for your listening pleasure.
  • Litterature Audio
  • Naropa Poetics Audio Archives
    • Hosts audio recordings of the Beats — Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg and more.
  • The Penguin Podcast
    • Excerpts read from books newly published by Penguin UK.
  • Podiobooks
    • Provides podcasts of largely sci-fi books that we’ve never heard of before. But, you never know.
  • Podlit Classic Literature iTunesWeb Site
    • A new classic short story each week.
  • Pseudopod iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • The world’s first audio horror magazine
  • Radioboeken iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • “Radiobooks” are just like books, but they will never be printed. They are created by important Dutch and Flemish writers, and will be available in French, English and Spanish versions in 2007.
  • Scott Sigler’s Audiobooks iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Very well reviewed sci-fi horror works
  • Stories to Go iTunesFeedWeb Site
  • Stranger Things iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • This high-quality video podcast features stories of ordinary people stumbling into strange worlds (a la The Twilight Zone).
  • The Classic Tales Podcast iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • The Classic Tales Podcast makes unabridged classics not only available, but approachable. Includes professional performances.
  • The Public Domain Podcast iTunesFeedWeb Site
  • The Time Traveler iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Explores vintage American fiction. Orson Welles, Philip K. Dick, etc.
  • The Twilight Series
  • Utopod iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • A free French-language podcast, created by Lucas Moreno and and Marc Tiefenauer, that offers readings of fantasy and sci fi stories written by noted authors across the Francophone world.
  • Well Told Tales iTunesFeedWeb Site
    • Pulp fiction audio tales….!!!

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.