10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube (Smart Video Collections)

intelligentlife3.jpgIt’s been a con­stant lament that YouTube offers its users scant lit­tle intel­lec­tu­al con­tent. And that con­tent is itself hard to find. Just vis­it YouTube’s so-called Edu­ca­tion Sec­tion, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any­thing actu­al­ly edu­ca­tion­al. But the good news is that we’re see­ing some recent signs of intel­li­gent life at YouTube. The video ser­vice hosts an increas­ing num­ber of intel­lec­tu­al­ly redeemable video col­lec­tions. And so we fig­ured why not do some heavy lift­ing and bring a few your way. If YouTube won’t make them easy to find, then we will. (By the way, I first post­ed this right between Christ­mas and New Years, when every­one was tuned out. So it seemed worth post­ing again.)

1.) UC Berke­ley: We have men­tioned this col­lec­tion before, but we might as well men­tion it again. UC Berke­ley launched in Octo­ber a YouTube chan­nel that con­tains over 300 hours of aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram­ming. And, most notably, you’ll find here a series of uni­ver­si­ty cours­es that can be watched in their entire­ty (for free). It’s a deep col­lec­tion worth start­ing with.

2.) @GoogleTalks: Many big names end up speak­ing at Google. That includes polit­i­cal fig­ures and cul­tur­al fig­ures such as Paul Krug­man, Steven Pinker, Joseph Stieglitz, Jonathan Lethem and more. Since Google owns YouTube, it’s good to see that they’re mak­ing an effort to record these talks and raise the intel­lec­tu­al bar on GooTube just a bit. Have a look.

3.) The Nobel Prize: TheNo­bel­Prize chan­nel presents cur­rent and past Nobel Lau­re­ates — cour­tesy of Nobelprize.org, the offi­cial web site of the Nobel Foun­da­tion. The col­lec­tion fea­tures offi­cial Nobel Prize Lec­tures and also more casu­al pre­sen­ta­tions. It looks like talks by the 2007 win­ners are being added slow­ly.

4.) TED Talks: Every year, a thou­sand “thought-lead­ers, movers and shak­ers” get togeth­er at a four-day con­fer­ence called TED (which is short for Tech­nol­o­gy, Enter­tain­ment and Design). In recent years, the list of speak­ers has ranged from Sergey Brin and Lar­ry Page to Bill Gates, to Her­bie Han­cock and Peter Gabriel, to Frank Gehry, to Al Gore and Bill Clin­ton. In this col­lec­tion, you’ll find var­i­ous talks pre­sent­ed at the con­fer­ence. They usu­al­ly run about 20 min­utes.

5.) FORA.tv: In case you don’t know about it, FORA.tv is a web ser­vice that hosts videos fea­tur­ing impor­tant thinkers grap­pling with con­tem­po­rary cul­tur­al, social and polit­i­cal ques­tions. It’s like YouTube, but always intel­li­gent. You can find extend­ed videos on FORA’s site, and a decent sam­pling of their con­tent on YouTube.

6.) Philoso­phers and The­o­rists: The Euro­pean Grad­u­ate School (or EGS) hosts a video col­lec­tion on YouTube that includes talks by some very impor­tant theorists/philosophers of the past gen­er­a­tion — for exam­ple, Jacques Der­ri­da and Jean Bau­drillard. There are also some film­mak­ers mixed in — take for exam­ple, Peter Green­away and John Waters.

7.) Pulitzer Cen­ter on Cri­sis Report­ing: This chan­nel pro­motes cov­er­age of inter­na­tion­al affairs, “focus­ing on top­ics that have been under-report­ed, mis-report­ed — or not report­ed at all.” Most of these videos were fea­tured on the pub­lic tele­vi­sion pro­gram “For­eign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria.”

8.) BBC World­wide: The lead­ing British broad­cast­er is now live on YouTube, and there’s some good con­tent in the mix, although it won’t leap off of the home­page. The trick is to look at their playlist where you will find more edu­ca­tion­al pieces of video: doc­u­men­taries, sci­ence, dra­ma, trav­el, and more. The notable down­side is that the videos typ­i­cal­ly fall with­in YouTube’s cus­tom­ary 10 minute video lim­it. (Many oth­ers cit­ed here run longer.) Too bad more could­n’t have been done with this oppor­tu­ni­ty.

Oth­er smart media prop­er­ties that have opt­ed for the sound­bite strat­e­gy here include Nation­al Geo­graph­ic and PBS.

9.) UChan­nel: For­mer­ly called the Uni­ver­si­ty Chan­nel, this video ser­vice presents talks on international/political affairs from aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions all over the world. It’s spear­head­ed by Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, and you can find an even more exten­sive video col­lec­tion on their web site.

10.) Oth­er Uni­ver­si­ty Chan­nels on YouTube: UC Berke­ley launched the biggest chan­nel on YouTube, but there are some oth­ers out there. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, find­ing them is some­thing of a crap­shoot. We’ve man­aged, how­ev­er, to pull togeth­er a good list of ten. See 10 Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lec­tions on YouTube

Bonus: We cob­bled togeth­er our own playlist of smart YouTube videos that will grow over time. Have a look.

In putting togeth­er this list, one thing became clear: YouTube has enough qual­i­ty con­tent to keep you busy, and there’s clear­ly more that I don’t know about (again, because they don’t make it easy to find). If you want to add oth­er good YouTube col­lec­tions to our list, please list them in the com­ments and I can add them selec­tive­ly to the list.

Want more smart media? Check out our big list of free uni­ver­si­ty cours­es avail­able via pod­cast.

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14 Easy Ways You Can Be An Everyday Environmentalist

The Nature Con­ser­van­cy asked its staff and lead­ing envi­ron­ment blog­gers how you can make “per­son­al, sci­ence-based choic­es to help save the plan­et.” Here are their 14 sug­ges­tions.

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How Evolution Happens (in 5 Minutes, 48 Seconds)

This video was appar­ent­ly devel­oped with scenes tak­en from the BBC series Walk­ing with Mon­sters. (But don’t com­plete­ly quote me on that.)

For more smart videos, see our YouTube Playlist.

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How Camera Lenses are Made

On a relat­ed note, also see Learn the Art of Pho­tog­ra­phy: The Nikon Way

Is Morality Hardwired in Us?

Is moral­i­ty a sixth sense that’s in all of us, and is it per­haps a prod­uct of our bio­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion? Writ­ing recent­ly in The New York Times Mag­a­zine, Har­vard psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker sug­gests that moral­i­ty may well be hard­wired. And he points to fas­ci­nat­ing new research that backs up this belief. Pinker’s arti­cle cov­ers pret­ty much the same ground as does this engag­ing Radio Lab pod­cast (MP3iTunesFeedWeb Site). Tak­ing an hour-long look at the “sci­ence of moral­i­ty,” the pro­gram gets into some fas­ci­nat­ing stuff. It gets into the great Trol­ley moral dilem­ma, into what brain scans (MRI’s) reveal when human brains grap­ple with moral ques­tions, and into how sci­en­tists think that we inher­it­ed moral instincts from our pri­mate ances­tors. You’ll learn all about how moral­i­ty is our “inner chimp.” If this is not enough, you can also lis­ten to Pinker’s inter­view yes­ter­day on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Get it here.

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Cha-Cha-Changes: Politicians Sing Bowie

You need to give it a minute:

via The Dai­ly Dish

Turn Your iPod into a Travel Guide: 20 Travel Podcasts

Over the past year, we’ve seen a steady sup­ply of new trav­el pod­casts com­ing online. Some are pro­duced by the pub­lish­ers of major trav­el guides; oth­ers by pas­sion­ate indi­vid­ual trav­el­ers. Many are in video, some even in HD. These pod­casts will gen­er­al­ly help you trav­el much more knowl­edge­ably. And, in most cas­es, they’ll say some­thing about a trav­el des­ti­na­tion that a tra­di­tion­al guide nev­er could. This col­lec­tion will grow over time. You can find it housed per­ma­nent­ly in our Pod­cast Library locat­ed on the top right of each page. (There you can also find our col­lec­tion of Free Lan­guage Lessons, which will be handy, too, for your trav­els.)
  • A Year in Europe iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A well reviewed pod­cast. “Scott and Sheryl quit their jobs and sold their home. Now they’re on a year-long excur­sion through Europe where they’re explor­ing the places they’ve read about and dreamed of vis­it­ing. Fol­low them on their jour­ney as they expe­ri­ence the cul­tures, art and his­to­ry they find fas­ci­nat­ing.”
  • Ama­teur Trav­el Pod­cast — Video iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Focus­es on trav­el sto­ries with a dash of trav­el news, trav­el tips and trav­el resources. And, yes, as the title sug­gests, it’s in video.
  • Antho­ny Bour­dain — No Reser­va­tions iTunes Web Site
    • Pro­duced by the Trav­el Chan­nel, this video pod­cast com­bines trav­el with the love of food.
  • Beau­ti­ful Places (iPod/iTunes) iTunes Down­load Web Site
    • This video pod­cast focus­es on the great out­doors. Des­ti­na­tions explored here include Big Sur, Yosemite, Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park, etc. You can find an HD ver­sion of the pod­cast here.
  • Big in Tai­wan HD iTunes Feed Web Site
    • These videos high­light the peo­ple, cul­ture, sights & sounds of Tai­wan.
  • Copen­hagen Pod­walks iTunes Web Site
    • Pod­casts that will get you around Den­mark’s cap­i­tal.
  • Dis­cov­er France with Sebastien iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Gives you a good look at French towns. In video.
  • Find­ing Amer­i­ca iTunes Feed Web Site
    • See the real Amer­i­ca in video. Trav­el every major road in the USA and see the coun­try from some­thing oth­er than a glossy, man­u­fac­tured per­spec­tive.
  • From­mer’s Pod­cast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Trav­el info from Kel­ly Regan, edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of From­mer’s Trav­el Guides, and David Lytle, edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of Frommers.com. So far audio only. (It’s curi­ous that the big pub­lish­ers are pro­duc­ing less dynam­ic pod­casts than the small guys are.)
  • Inside Grand Canyon iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Learn about Grand Canyon Nation­al Park with a park ranger as your guide. This is a video pod­cast.
  • iPod Trav­el­er iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Two Lon­don­ers give you their per­son­al look at Europe. This audio pod­cast was dis­con­tin­ued in 2007, but the exten­sive archive remains.
  • Italy From the Inside iTunes Web Site
    • A native Ital­ian tells first-time trav­el­ers how to make the most of Italy. Some in audio; some in video.
  • Let’s Trav­el Radio iTunes Feed Web Site
    • An inter­net trav­el radio show that takes you to the four cor­ners of the world. Fea­tures talks with glo­be­trot­ters, artists, chefs and musi­cians.
  • Lone­ly Plan­et Trav­el­casts iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Pro­duced by one of the lead­ing trav­el guide pub­lish­ers, these pod­casts are very inter­na­tion­al in scope. Audio only.
  • Lon­don Land­scape TV HD iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A visu­al HD guide to the great city of Lon­don.
  • Saman­tha Brown: Pass­port to Latin Amer­i­ca iTunes Web Site
    • Pro­duced by the Trav­el Chan­nel, this well-reviewed video pod­cast often focus­es on Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca, which is some­thing that’s hard to find .… at least so far.
  • Unabellav­ista: How to Tour Italy iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Learn about Italy’s art, his­to­ry, archi­tec­ture, food, and lan­guage. In audio.
  • Walks of a Life­time iTunes Feed Web Site
    • Pro­duced by Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Trav­el­er. “Stroll across the world, from crowd­ed city cen­ters to rus­tic coun­try routes, with trav­el expert Rudy Maxa in Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Trav­el­er mag­a­zine’s selec­tion of the world’s great­est walk­ing tours.” In audio.
  • Wash­ing­ton Trav­el­cast iTunes Feed Web Site
    • A week­ly walk­ing tour of the US capi­tol.

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The Subprime Mortgage Meltdown Satirically Explained

Fun­ny but part­ly instruc­tive.…

via Val­ley­wag

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