The Future of Print

WNY­C’s lat­est On The Media (iTunesFeedSite) cov­ers the cri­sis of tra­di­tion­al book pub­lish­ing in a new media age. While Ama­zon rolls out the Kin­dle and more and more con­tent comes out in pure dig­i­tal form, we’re still pub­lish­ing more books than ever before. One inter­est­ing note from the pro­gram is that pub­lish­ers have dis­cov­ered that offer­ing more free con­tent online (i.e. not just excerpts but whole chap­ters of new books) serves to increase sales even more. The show was great–worth a lis­ten.

WIRED SCIENCE: What’s Inside Rainn Wilson?

Fun­ny and yet it counts as sci­ence.

Chris Hard­wick and Rainn Wil­son, star of The Office, “dive deep into the chem­i­cal guts of a com­mon house­hold prod­uct” to dis­cov­er “What’s Inside.” For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it http://www.pbs.org/wiredscience (Source: Boing­Bo­ing)

Guest on FORA.tv This Week

Here’s a quick fyi: I’m mak­ing a small guest appear­ance on FORA.tv this week.

In case you’re not famil­iar with it, FORA.tv hosts a large and con­stant­ly grow­ing col­lec­tion of videos that fea­ture impor­tant thinkers grap­pling with con­tem­po­rary cul­tur­al, social and polit­i­cal ques­tions. Or, put sim­ply, it’s YouTube made intel­li­gent. As you’ll see, their mis­sion is rather sim­i­lar to our own. So I was pleased when they asked me to be “a guest” for the week and high­light some of my favorite videos from their video trove. Here is what I select­ed:

Seg­ments of FORA’s talks are also avail­able by audio and video pod­cast. (Get more info here.) Also, on a relat­ed note, Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty spear­heads a some­what sim­i­lar video ser­vice, except that it is more specif­i­cal­ly ded­i­cat­ed to pub­lic affairs. It’s called UChan­nel. (Have a look here.) Final­ly, if you like what FORA and UChan­nel have to offer, you may also want to spend some time with our Ideas & Cul­ture Pod­cast Col­lec­tion. Our full pod­cast library is here.

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When Bob Dylan Went Electric: Newport, 1965

First there was the folk Bob Dylan. Then came the elec­tric Bob Dylan. And it all hap­pened one night at the New­port Folk Fes­ti­val. The date was July 25, 1965.

In the clip below, you can see how the tran­si­tion was received. In a word, not well. Appear­ing in front of a folk audi­ence that lament­ed the rise of rock, Dylan hit the stage with his elec­tric band and played three songs, includ­ing “Like a Rolling Stone.” Much of the crowd react­ed vio­lent­ly (you can hear it at the end of the clip), and Pete Seeger, the folk leg­end, raged back­stage: “Get that dis­tor­tion out of his voice … It’s ter­ri­ble. If I had an axe, I’d chop the micro­phone cable right now.” After his short set, Dylan tried to exit the stage. But, as you’ll see, he was coaxed back, with acoustic gui­tar in hand, to give the peo­ple what they want­ed — an excel­lent ver­sion of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. For more on this con­tro­ver­sy (which the music world even­tu­al­ly got over), check out Mar­tin Scors­ese’s doc­u­men­tary “No Direc­tion Home” as well as this Wikipedia entry.

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A World in Your Ear

Times Online (the large UK-based news web­site) has post­ed today a fea­ture that offers an intro­duc­tion to pod­cast­ing. It explains the whos, hows, whats, etc. and pro­vides some help­ful links, includ­ing one to our col­lec­tion of For­eign Lan­guage Les­son Pod­casts.

Pod­cast­ing offers an amaz­ing way to access free, high-qual­i­ty media, across many top­ics, wher­ev­er and when­ev­er you want it. And it’s some­thing that even techno­phobes can eas­i­ly fig­ure out. For more infor­ma­tion on how to work with pod­casts, see our our Pod­cast Primer. We take you through pod­cast­ing step-by-step. Also check out our exten­sive Pod­cast Library, which gives you access to audio­books, cul­tur­al pro­gram­ming, sci­ence pod­casts, uni­ver­si­ty cours­es and more.

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No Country for Old Men: The Coen Brothers’ Latest

The film­mak­ers who brought you Far­go, Bar­ton Fink, and O Broth­er, Where Art Thou? have released their lat­est film based on a nov­el by Cor­mac McCarthy. No Coun­try for Old Men is, as The New York­er puts it, “a return to the dark, sim­mer­ing days of their best work, in Blood Sim­ple and Miller’s Cross­ing,” which is anoth­er way of say­ing that the film is vio­lent, but also extreme­ly well made. So far, there’s been no short­age of pos­i­tive reviews (look here for exam­ple). But, as always, you’ll find the occa­sion­al pan. Below, we have post­ed some scenes from the film, and we’ll leave you with this print­ed inter­view with Joel and Ethan Coen.

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100 Notable Books of 2007

Gift buy­ing sea­son is now offi­cial­ly upon us. If books are part of your gift buy­ing plan, then have a look at this list just pub­lished by The New York Times. The 100 books list­ed here include fic­tion, poet­ry and non­fic­tion. Among oth­ers, you’ll find Philip Roth’s lat­est book, Exit Ghost, and I men­tion it sim­ply because you may want to lis­ten to an inter­view with Roth that aired ear­li­er this week (iTunesMP3FeedWeb Site).

You should also spend some time look­ing at our list of Life-Chang­ing Books, all of which were select­ed by our read­ers this fall. Def­i­nite­ly some good, time-test­ed reads on this list.

Final­ly, a quick heads up: Apple is run­ning a one day sale, which gives up to $100 off some com­put­ers and $30 off iPod clas­sics. Plus there’s free ship­ping on all prod­ucts. If you have Apple prod­ucts on your hol­i­day list, then it may be worth your time. Again, the sale ends at mid­night.

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Nixon and Kissinger: Best of Allies and Rivals

nixon3.jpgRobert Dallek’s lat­est book recounts in plen­ti­ful detail (752 pages) the odd work­ing rela­tion­ship that exist­ed between Richard Nixon and Hen­ry Kissinger (Nixon’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er and, lat­er, sec­re­tary of state). They were part­ly allies, in many ways strong­ly depen­dent upon one anoth­er, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it came to mak­ing Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy. But they also dis­trust­ed one anoth­er, some­times deeply, and they’d occa­sion­al­ly maneu­ver behind each oth­ers’ backs. Dallek’s book, Nixon and Kissinger: Part­ners in Pow­er, has just come out in paper­back, which brings us to this NPR inter­view with the author (iTunesFeedWeb Site). Dallek, who has pre­vi­ous­ly writ­ten exten­sive­ly on Kennedy and John­son, gives a good inter­view that out­lines “Nixinger’s” sub­stan­tive accom­plish­ments and the many behind-the-scenes intrigues. Give a lis­ten.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.