One Day, One World, United by Film

In 2006, documentary filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) made a wish at the TED conference (see below) — for world peace. For Noujaim, peace starts with cultural exchange, with getting to know one another. And since we all can’t travel, another way to achieve this is through film and its ability to “take you into new worlds” and “across borders.”

Two years later, Noujaim’s wish may come true, and the unifying power of film will be put to the test. May 10 marks Pangea Day, a day when people from around the world (from Mumbai and Cairo to Kigali, Rio and LA) will come together and watch the same films made by various international filmmakers. “Watch parties” will be held worldwide, and the event will be broadcast via webcast and mobile phone. Below, we’ve also posted a movie trailer introducing the concept of Pangea Day. For more information, click here. (Thanks Natasha for the heads up.)

Noujaim at TED

Pangea Day Trailer

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Teaching on YouTube Goes Viral

Last week, Alexandra Juhasz contributed a guest piece reviewing her experimental efforts to make YouTube an effective teaching tool. And it didn’t take long for the web to take notice. Soon after we posted her review, The Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education) took an angle on the piece. Next, the venerable Ars Technica used the post as a springboard for its own summary. And finally, that story soon reached the homepage of, which inevitably meant that Alexandra’s piece got picked up by umpteen smaller blogs. It’s always fun to watch the ripple effects of the web go through their motions.

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Self-Regenerating Robots

The University of Pennsylvania has done it. They’ve created a robot that you can kick apart, and it knows how to reassemble itself. Eerie stuff. Give it a few decades, and these guys (the robots and the students) will be running the show. (Video added to our YouTube playlist)

via Marc Andreessen’s blog

For lots of good science podcasts, check out our list here.

The British Slant on the Mac v. PC Ads

Across the pond, Apple is running a series of ads fashioned after the “Mac v. PC” commercials that have run so successfully in the States. Although the vocabulary and accent are naturally different, the gist of the British ads is essentially the same. Yes, Apple’s schtick translates well, and I’m declaring the third one my favorite. (See the series of commercials below.)

As our readers from London will know (fact: we have more readers from London than any other one city), the actors in Apple’s ads are hardly unfamiliar. The two — David Mitchell (PC) and Robert Webb (Mac) — star in the award-winning English sitcom, Peep Show, which is just about to begin a new season. (Watch second clip below. Note that it features adult language and themes.)

Body of War: Paralyzed in Iraq and the Long Road Back

On the American home front, the Iraq war has entered its apathetic phase. The war continues to grind on, but the mission gets far less news ink than before, and the debate over the war’s merits and tactics rarely gets hashed back through. That’s perhaps because many have decided to mentally park the issue until a new administration takes over next year. Or because declining home prices and rising food and gas costs have elbowed the Iraq issue aside. Undeterred, Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro have co-directed a new documentary called Body of War. Being released in US theaters this month, the documentary (featuring music arranged by Eddie Vedder) tracks the daily life of Tomas Young, a soldier shot and paralyzed during his first week of fighting in Iraq, and it gives you a rare glimpse into the difficult road that Young and others have had to travel. All of this makes tangible something that the corporatized media hasn’t covered much — the real human costs of this war. To date, 4,361 American soldiers have died in Iraq; over 30,000 have been injured in hostile action; and suicides of returning vets have reportedly risen to alarming rates. Below, we have posted the trailer for the film. In addition, I’d point you to this recent podcast by Bill Moyers (iTunesFeedWeb Site), which introduces you to Tomas Young, Phil Donohue, Ellen Spiro and the film they made.

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The Story Behind Ansel Adams’ Famous Yosemite Shots

The New York Times is running an interactive feature that will give you the backstory behind Ansel Adams’ iconic photos taken at Yosemite National Park. Just click on the individual images on this page, and you’ll get a different story. (Also see the Times’ accompanying piece: What Adams Saw Through His Lens.)

Related Content 

Learn the Art of Photography: The Nikon Way

How Camera Lenses are Made

The Best Photoblogs of 2007

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Grateful Dead Donates Archive to UC Santa Cruz

Surviving members of the Grateful Dead announced Thursday that they will be donating their archives to UC Santa Cruz. This podcast (FeedWeb Site), featuring Bob Weir and Mickey Hart (among others), gives you insight into the thinking behind this move…

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Scott Sigler’s Infected: Free via Podcast, $16.47 on Amazon

Horror/sci-fi fans, here you go… Scott Sigler’s new and very well-reviewed thriller, Infected, can be downloaded for free via podcast (iTunesFeedWeb site). Or you can get it in hardback for $16.47, which I’m not discouraging you from doing.

With the links above, you can download more free books from Sigler. But, I warn you that the books contain a good dose of graphic language.

Check out our extensive collection of Free Audiobooks here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.