Bob Dylan Video Goodness

dylancard.jpgMark October 1 on your calendar. That’s when Bob Dylan will release a new box set of his “greatest songs.” Now, cut over to the website designed to market the album, and you’ll find a couple notable pieces of video. First up, you can watch the video that accompanies Mark Ronson’s remixing of “Most Likely You Will Go Your Way (& I’ll Go Mine).” (Watch it on the website here or on YouTube here.) It’s apparently the first time Dylan has allowed a remix of any of his songs, and the song has been getting some airplay this week.

And then there is this video concept. Back in 1967, D. A. Pennebaker released Don’t Look Back, a well-known documentary that covered Dylan’s first tour of England in 1965. The opening segment of the film has Dylan standing in an alley, flipping through cards inscribed with lyrics from Subterranean Homesick Blues. (Also the beat poet Allen Ginsberg looms in the background. We’ve included the original video below.) Now, I’m mentioning this because the aforementioned website lets you re-work this video segment. Click here and you can re-write the cards that Dylan flips through, and then watch your edited version. It’s another form of re-mixing, I guess.

Lastly, I want to direct your attention to the trove of videos that Google put together back when Google Video was a real living, breathing thing. Created to coincide with the release of Dylan’s last studio album, Modern Times (2006), this collection lets you watch 11 videos in total, ranging from unreleased footage from D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, to Dylan’s appearance on The Johnny Cash Show, to his performance of “Dignity” on MTV’s Unplugged. Good stuff, to be sure.

iPod Classic Not Quite Ready for Primetime

Robert X. Cringley’s weekly article/podcast (iTunesFeedWeb Site) may make you think twice about buying an iPod Classic … at least for now. Despite the name, the guts of the iPod Classic are actually new, and the bugs haven’t been fully worked out. The list of problems experienced by users includes (and I quote Cringley directly):

  • VERY Slow menu switching response
  • Display of clock rather than song info when “Now Playing”
  • Inability to use existing AUTHORIZED 3rd party dock products (including Apple-advertised)
  • Audio skipping during operation
  • Slow connection to Macs and PCs
  • Inability to disable “split-screen” menus
  • Lagging and unresponsive Click Wheel
  • Camera connector not working
  • Inability to use EQ settings without skipping and distortion

Seeing that the “Classic” is Apple’s only iPod that currently has more than 16 gigs of storage, the company will be hustling to fix these problems. But, for now, podcast lovers might want to stick to their tried and true mp3 player. Source: I, Cringley

See our Technology Podcast Collection

The World of Words & Carnal Knowledge

carnalknowledge.gifGrammar is in vogue. The statistics don’t lie. The Grammar Girl (iTunesFeedWeb Site) remains one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes, and The Grammar Grater (iTunesFeedWeb Site) is holding its own. From grammar, it’s just a short step to words, to etymology. And, today, we want to highlight Podictionary (iTunesFeedSite) for you. It’s a “word-of-the-day” podcast that spends an easy three to five minutes surveying the history of common words in the English language. (This makes it useful for native and non-native speakers alike). Its creator, Charles Hodgson, has so far tackled over 600 terms, which means that he’s amassed an extensive audio archive that you can access here.

And his work on words doesn’t stop there. Hodgson recently published a new book called Carnal Knowledge: A Navel Gazer’s Dictionary of Anatomy, Etymology, and Trivia (St. Martin’s Press). Far from pedantic, the book uses engaging prose and fun facts to tease out the meaning of words we use to describe our bodies. The whole body gets covered here, from the “eye” to the “simian line” to the “gullet,” and it goes straight down to the nether regions, too. For more information, spend some time with the blog that accompanies the new book.

Related Content:

Ten Podcasts to Build Your Vocabulary

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The New York Times “Opens Up” at Midnight

nyt-160×160.jpgEffective at midnight, The New York Times will make the “TimesSelect” section of its website entirely free. (It used to cost subscribers $49.95 a year.) And it will also free up “its archives from 1987 to the present … , as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain.”

In making this move, the paper will be giving up $10 million in annual subscription revenue. But it will likely make up that money (and then some) by using ads to monetize those pages. For more info, read the full article here. And click here to see what formerly closed-off content will now become freely available.

Update: Have a look at Deeplinking’s piece called Mining the New York Times Archive. It pulls out of the archive some interesting finds, including reviews of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Oscar Wilde’s Disgrace (1895), plus articles that survey the dynamic art scene of the early 20th century.

Explore our list of 100 Great Culture Blogs

Keeping Wikipedia Honest

wiki2.jpgWikipedia is now the 9th most frequented site on the web, and it hosts over 7 million articles in over 200 languages. Like it or not, Wikipedia is here to stay.

Recognizing this, some innovative programmers have started developing ways to shore up Wikipedia’s sometimes shaky foundations. In particular, they’re finding ways to monitor Wikipedia entries for tampering and partisan manipulation. A couple weeks ago, we mentioned a new site called Wikipedia Scanner, which allows users to determine whether partisans have edited particular wiki entries by matching the entries against IP addresses. Now, another site, Wikirage, lets you track the pages on “Wikipedia which are receiving the most edits per unique editor over various periods of time.” This is a nice feature partly because it pinpoints which topics/entries are generating buzz at the moment (today it is Blackwater USA, Michael B. Mukasey, Fred Thompson, the United States Constitution and Dane Cooke – a logical sequence, to be sure.) But Wikirage is also handy because it highlights which entries “have high revision, vandalism or undo rates.” The upshot is that millions of people have built Wikipedia. But it’s smart programming, mixed with some manpower, that’s keeping the whole enterprise a little more honest and reliable. Stay tuned for more on how this works out.

See Lifehacker for the 10 Top Wikipedia tricks, and to find the most popular pages on Wikipedia in absolute terms, click here.

500 Greatest Albums of All Time

at least according to Rolling Stone. (Get the list here). Yes, these lists are always highly subjective. But if I were the arbiter of musical taste, I’d pick many of the same, so here it is.

The End of History Revisited

fukuy3.jpgStewart Brand, the creator of the iconic Whole Earth Catalog, heads up the The Long Now Foundation, an organization committed to cultivating “slower/better” thinking and fostering greater responsibility over “the next 10,000 years.” (Yes, they’re ambitious.) To help bring this about, Brand hosts a monthly speaking series that you can download as a podcast (iTunesFeedMP3s), and, in late June, he brought in Francis Fukuyama to speak. Fukuyama, a professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins, first made a name for himself in 1989 when, during the waning days of the Cold War, he published an essay called “The End of History?” (Later, he would turn it into a bestselling book, The End of History and the Last Man.) Stealing a page from Karl Marx, Fukuyama maintained that history had a direction to it. It flowed with purpose, always bringing progress. But the end point wasn’t communist utopia. It was liberal democracy mixed with free market economics. That’s where humanity was collectively heading, with a victorious America leading the way. (In his original essay, he wrote, “What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”)

In the intervening years, the world’s movement toward western democracy hasn’t exactly followed a straight line, and the 9/11 attacks and the ensuing “War on Terror” have seemingly lent credence to a dimmer worldview, one outlined by Samuel Huntington in the controversial book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Speaking 18 years after the publication of his original essay (iTunesFeedMP3Blog), Fukuyama revisits, clarifies and largely defends his thesis that liberal democracy is still on track to prevail. And that’s because, in his mind, there are deep economic, scientific and technological trends in motion that drive almost inexorably toward these political ends. Whether he is right or wrong, it’s impossible to say. Regardless, his talk is smart, hardly dogmatic, and worth your time.

SmartLinks From Our Readers

Below, we have some links recommended by our readers. Feel free to send other good bits our way. The more we give, the more we get. Just click here to send:

  • Sean Penn reads an excerpt from Bob Dylan’s autobiography, Chronicles, here. (Or check out the full audiobook version.)
  • Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse speaks at The Long Now Foundation about why civilizations have historically endured or failed. Two important factors include how they managed their natural resources and dealt with climate change. Does this ring any bells? Get the lecture here: (iTunesFeedMP3s)
  • Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism. A piece in The New York Times explores Atlas Shrugged and its impact on Alan Greenspan.
  • Interview with Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google (and UC Berkeley Professor), who talks (iTunes FeedMP3Web Site) about the internet as an “engine for democracy.”
  • Appearing in The New York Review of Books, this piece, entitled Citizen Gore, takes a look a Al Gore‘s new book, The Assault on Reason, and how Gore, being freed up from politics, has been remarkably able to prod the conscience of the nation. For some, however, it’s not enough. Hence the recent “Draft Al Gore” campaign that has gotten underway.
  • Check out the Voodoo Music Festival coming up on October 26, 27 & 28 in New Orleans. The lineup of artists includes Rage Against The Machine, Common, Tiesto, The Smashing Pumpkins, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, M.I.A., Ben Harper, Wilco and more. To win passes to the show and some travel money, you can enter a contest here.
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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.