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.…!!!

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.