50 Arts & Culture Programs to Add to Your Podcast Collection

FeedimageOur direc­to­ry of arts & cul­ture pod­casts is now 50 pro­grams strong. Here you’ll find smart cul­tur­al pro­grams
from NPR, The New York Times, MoMA, Salon, Slate and the BBC. And you’ll find pro­gram­ming orig­i­nat­ing from the US, the UK, Cana­da and Aus­tralia and even France.

The pod­casts are all high-qual­i­ty, allow­ing you to spend your time expand­ing your intel­lec­tu­al hori­zons. While this direc­to­ry includes links to pod­casts on iTunes, it also includes direct links to RSS feeds so that you can use the pod­catch­er of your choice. Plus, we have added links to the web sites of the indi­vid­ual pod­cast cre­ators.

Final­ly, the For­eign Lan­guage Les­son Pod­cast direc­to­ry was also updat­ed this week to include links to iTunes, RSS feeds, and the web sites of the pod­cast cre­ators. We’ll soon be sim­i­lar­ly updat­ing the News and Uni­ver­si­ty pod­cast pages as well. Have a good week­end.

Two Views of the Iraqi Refugee Crisis (on Podcast)

As a fol­low-up to the Iraqi Expe­ri­ence in Dig­i­tal, we sim­ply want­ed to put along­side one anoth­er two excel­lent pod­casts that speak direct­ly to the mount­ing Iraqi refugee cri­sis. Tak­en togeth­er they give you an excel­lent view of this prob­lem.

First, a recent pod­cast from Open Source, which fea­tures interivews with Iraqis who have had to make the jour­ney out of Iraq and in to Syr­ia and Jor­dan. (So far, 7% of the Iraqi pop­u­la­tion has fled to these two coun­tries.) Sec­ond, an inter­view with George Pack­er, who writes for The New York­er (you can find many of his arti­cles here) and who sum­ma­rizes extreme­ly well the issues at hand, and par­tic­u­lar­ly rais­es the ques­tion whether the US has a moral oblig­a­tion to take some of these refugees in.

Online Foreign Language Exchange

Because our for­eign lan­guage les­son pod­casts have gen­er­at­ed a lot of inter­est this week, we want­ed to men­tion anoth­er intrigu­ing for­eign lan­guage resource: The Mixxer.

An excel­lent way to learn a lan­guage is to par­tic­i­pate in a lan­guage exchange. Years ago, when I set out to learn French, I went to Paris and found some­one (a French per­son) who want­ed to learn Eng­lish, and we met twice a week and spent one hour speak­ing in Eng­lish, the oth­er hour in French. And, with­out fail, my com­mand of French dra­mat­i­cal­ly improved.

Now you don’t need to trav­el very far to get involved in your own lan­guage exchange. The Mixxer has devel­oped a site where you can find eager lan­guage part­ners, down­load Skype (the soft­ware that lets you talk over the inter­net for free), and then start your bilin­gual exchange.

With this and our col­lec­tion of Free Lan­guage Lessons, the inter­net will rapid­ly get you up the lan­guage learn­ing curve.

MIT Brings Science & Technology Courses to Your Home

Five years ago, MIT launched an ambi­tious ini­tia­tive with its Open­Course­Ware project. The con­cept was fair­ly sim­ple. It involved putting online the mate­ri­als from MIT cours­es — the syl­labi, read­ing lists, course notes, assign­ments, etc. — and mak­ing them avail­able online to the world at large. Ben­e­fit­ing from this ini­tia­tive were stu­dents and fac­ul­ty across the globe, all look­ing to find guid­ance on how to teach them­selves, or their stu­dents, the lat­est in their par­tic­u­lar aca­d­e­m­ic field. By ear­ly this year, MIT had online mate­ri­als for 1,285 cours­es and was receiv­ing 36,000 dai­ly vis­its to the Open­Course­Ware site. A suc­cess by all counts.

If there was a down­side to the MIT ini­tia­tive, it was that the Open­Course­Ware mate­ri­als lacked media ele­ments that real­ly let teach­ers and stu­dents see how a course was taught. It’s one thing to get the course mate­ri­als, but quite anoth­er to see the mate­ri­als in action. These days, MIT has filled that gap by adding audio and video com­po­nents to a num­ber of cours­es. (You can review the full list here.) With this addi­tion, you can now see a vari­ety of MIT cours­es in action, rang­ing from biol­o­gy to physics to genom­ic med­i­cine to ani­mal behav­ior. They’re worth a look.

For more online mate­ri­als from top-notch uni­ver­si­ties, see our full list. Uni­ver­si­ty Online Cours­es & Online Media.

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Google’s Shakespeare

Google has always shied away from the con­tent cre­ation busi­ness. While Yahoo spent pre­cious resources devel­op­ing expen­sive con­tent, the Google folks con­tent­ed them­selves with devel­op­ing tech­nol­o­gy that orga­nized the rest of the world’s infor­ma­tion. And it paid off well. Giv­en this approach, it was some­what strange to stum­ble upon an edi­to­ri­al­ized part of their web site that invites users to “Explore Shake­speare with Google.” But we’re glad we did.

Google’s Shake­speare prod­uct is part of the com­pa­ny’s larg­er Book Search ini­tia­tive, which, to boil it down, involves scan­ning mil­lions of books, putting them on Google’s servers, and allow­ing users to search the print uni­verse like they do the world of web con­tent. Although some aspects of the project have proven to be high­ly con­tro­ver­sial (name­ly, the deci­sion to scan mil­lions of copy­right­ed texts), oth­er aspects have been eas­i­ly wel­comed by the pub­lish­ing com­mu­ni­ty. This includes the deci­sion to scan and archive a panoply of old, pub­lic domain texts.

This is where we get to Google’s Shake­speare. What you’ll find here is a col­lec­tion of all of the Bard’s plays in full text. The his­to­ries, tragedies, come­dies, romances — they are all here. The folks at Google­plex give you the abil­i­ty to access each play in its entire­ty and peruse it online. Or, alter­na­tive­ly,  you can down­load each play as a PDF file, which gives you the abil­i­ty to print the text and work through it in new ways. This kind of edi­to­r­i­al col­lec­tion is hard to argue with. In fact, we’d like to see more col­lec­tions like it. But some­thing tells us that this isn’t like­ly — that the Bard (oh, and Chi­na) is just about the only thing for which Google will make an excep­tion.

Open Culture Podcast Library

Arts & Cul­tureAudio BooksFor­eign Lan­guage LessonsNews &
Sci­enceTech­nol­o­gyUni­ver­si­ty Lec­tures & Class­es

See Dai­ly Fea­tures Below

The Iraqi Experience in Digital

IraqimageThe vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans have only a remote sense of what Iraqis
are expe­ri­enc­ing these days. We hear about peo­ple dying dai­ly — 10 in a mar­ket here, 30 in a mosque attack there — but it comes across as sta­tis­tics, as num­bers divorced from a real­i­ty that we can empathize with. In past wars, you could blame this fail­ure to under­stand the war in con­crete, human terms on gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ship and timid report­ing. But, with this war, the pub­lic does­n’t have that excuse. This is the first major Amer­i­can war fought in the age of the inter­net, and, as a result, a fuller pic­ture of the war has always been just  a Google search away. With that thought in mind, I have pulled togeth­er some dig­i­tal resources that paint a fuller pic­ture of what the US inva­sion has giv­en every­day Iraqis. In clear terms, you can see what life real­ly looks like in this new­found democ­ra­cy.

Pod­cast: For starters, I would high­ly rec­om­mend this recent pod­cast from Open Source, a PRI pro­duc­tion. It includes Iraqis and experts talk­ing about the dis­lo­ca­tion of many Iraqi cit­i­zens, and the grow­ing refugee cri­sis in Syr­ia and Jor­dan. (Note: this pod­cast requires iTunes, which you can down­load for free here.)

Blogs: This col­lec­tion of blogs writ­ten most­ly by Iraqis in Eng­lish will give you a real-time look at life in Iraq.

Pic­tures: This pho­to diary by CBS News offers an extend­ed archive of pho­tos cap­tur­ing the dai­ly expe­ri­ence in Iraq.

Catch The Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony Live

NobelimageToday (Sun­day, Decem­ber 10), the Nobel Prizes will be award­ed in Stock­holm, Swe­den. The Peace Prize
gets award­ed
ear­ly in the day (1:50 pm Cen­tral Euro­pean Time), and then, sev­er­al hours lat­er, come the rest (start­ing at 4:30 CET). By click­ing on these links, you can watch the cer­e­monies live over the Net. Stock­holm is 6 hours ahead of the US east coast, and 9 hours ahead of the west coast.

Final­ly, you can also watch here the indi­vid­ual speech­es giv­en by this year’s Nobel Prize win­ners. Most were pre­sent­ed this past Fri­day in Stock­holm.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.