Thomas Friedman (While Not Dodging Eco-Pies) Argues “Green is the New Red, White & Blue”

Speak­ing at Brown Uni­ver­si­ty ear­li­er this week, Thomas Fried­man had to deal with some unfor­tu­nate extra-cur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties. As he took the stage, two stu­dents call­ing them­selves the “Green­wash Gueril­las” launched pies (video here) at Fried­man and large­ly missed. But they did leave behind some pam­phlets spelling out their motives. Accord­ing to The Brown Dai­ly Her­ald, the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning jour­nal­ist for The New York Times deserved this dis­rup­tion because of “his sick­en­ing­ly cheery applaud for free mar­ket cap­i­tal­is­m’s con­quest of the plan­et” and “for help­ing turn envi­ron­men­tal­ism into a fake plas­tic con­sumer prod­uct for the priv­i­leged.” Some­where the giants of rev­o­lu­tion­ary rhetoric are gri­mac­ing and won­der­ing what hap­pened to their once well prac­ticed art.

Now that I’ve got your atten­tion, I want to point you to a talk that Fried­man gave last year at Stan­ford — Green is the New Red, White and Blue (iTunes). The talk takes you into the heart of Fried­man’s com­plex think­ing about the envi­ron­ment (and all that the Green Gueril­las odd­ly take issue with). And it’s pre­sent­ed with the same intel­li­gence that you’ll find on dis­play in the sec­ond most down­loaded pod­cast on iTunes U: The World is Flat. (This sec­ond talk was pre­sent­ed at MIT, and it’s only exceed­ed in pop­u­lar­i­ty by Randy Pausch’s soul­ful lec­ture, “Real­ly Achiev­ing Your Child­hood Dreams,” which we fea­tured on Mon­day.) Fried­man’s think­ing in the Stan­ford pod­cast (give it a lis­ten, you’ll be bet­ter for it) lays the foun­da­tion for his new book due out in August — Hot, Flat, and Crowd­ed: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew Amer­i­ca.

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Lifehack for Learning Foreign Languages


Here is a quick “life­hack” for you. You can now learn for­eign lan­guages and stay cur­rent on pol­i­tics all at once. How so? By tak­ing advan­tage of a smart pod­cast con­cept being used by French and Ger­man broad­cast­ers. Radio France Inter­na­tionale (RFI) issues a dai­ly pro­gram called Le Jour­nal en français facile (iTunesfeedweb site), which deliv­ers the night­ly inter­na­tion­al news in slow and easy-to-under­stand French. Along the same lines, the Ger­man media com­pa­ny Deutsche Welle (which puts out many great lan­guage and music pro­grams) also has its own night­ly news pro­gram Langsam gesproch­ene Nachricht­en (iTunesfeedweb site). It’s essen­tial­ly the same con­cept: infor­ma­tive news pre­sent­ed in very sim­ple Ger­man, and, in this case, it’s spo­ken very slow­ly.

Now, what’s very nice about these pro­grams is that they also pro­vide a writ­ten tran­script of the spo­ken word. So you can read along as you lis­ten and make sure that you’re real­ly com­pre­hend­ing. (See tran­scripts in French and Ger­man). Even cool­er, with the Ger­man ver­sion, if you have a video iPod, you can read the tran­script on your lit­tle portable screen. (See direc­tions).

Final­ly, check out this off­beat sug­ges­tion sent our way by a read­er: Nun­tii Lati­ni (mp3web site) is “a week­ly review of world news in Clas­si­cal Latin, the only inter­na­tion­al broad­cast of its kind in the world, pro­duced by YLE, the Finnish Broad­cast­ing Com­pa­ny.”

To learn more lan­guages, please vis­it our com­plete col­lec­tion Learn Lan­guages for Free: Span­ish, Eng­lish, Chi­nese & Beyond.

Relat­ed Resource: See our arti­cle called “Cof­fee Break Span­ish & The Threat to Tra­di­tion­al Media

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Teaching on YouTube

Today, we have a guest fea­ture by Alexan­dra Juhasz, Pro­fes­sor of Media Stud­ies at Pitzer Col­lege, in Clare­mont, CA. This piece con­sol­i­dates length­i­er blog entries about a course she ran on YouTube, called “Learn­ing from YouTube,” in Fall 2007. The whole goal was to bet­ter under­stand this new media/cultural phe­nom­e­non, and how it can be used in the class­room. How did she set up this class? And what did she learn? Find out below. Take it away Alexan­dra (and feel free to check out our YouTube playlist as well as our piece, 60 Smart Video Col­lec­tions on YouTube) .…

I decid­ed to teach a course about YouTube to bet­ter under­stand this recent and mas­sive media/cultural phe­nom­e­non, giv­en that I had been stu­dious­ly ignor­ing it (even as I rec­og­nized its sig­nif­i­cance) because every time I went there, I was seri­ous­ly under­whelmed by what I saw: inter­change­able, bite-sized, for­mu­la­ic videos refer­ring either to pop­u­lar cul­ture or per­son­al pain/pleasure. I called them video slo­gans: pithy, pre­cise, rous­ing calls to action or con­sump­tion, or action as con­sump­tion. I was cer­tain, how­ev­er, that there must be video, in this vast sea, that would sat­is­fy even my lofty stan­dards, and fig­ured my stu­dents (giv­en their greater facil­i­ty with a life-on-line) prob­a­bly knew bet­ter than I how to nav­i­gate the site.

Learn­ing From YouTube was my first tru­ly “stu­dent led” course: we would deter­mine the impor­tant themes and rel­e­vant meth­ods togeth­er. I had decid­ed that I want­ed the course to pri­mar­i­ly con­sid­er how web 2.0 (in this case, specif­i­cal­ly YouTube) is rad­i­cal­ly alter­ing the con­di­tions of learn­ing (what, where, when, how we have access to infor­ma­tion). Giv­en that col­lege stu­dents are rarely asked to con­sid­er the meta-ques­tions of how they learn, on top of what they are learn­ing, I thought it would be ped­a­gog­i­cal­ly use­ful for the form of the course to mir­ror YouTube’s struc­tures for learn­ing, like its ama­teur-led ped­a­gogy. Yes, on YouTube there is a great deal of user con­trol, but this is with­in a lim­it­ed and also high­ly lim­it­ing set of tools. So, I did set forth the rule that all the learn­ing for the course had to be on and about YouTube. While this con­straint was clear­ly arti­fi­cial, and per­haps mis­lead­ing about how YouTube is used in con­nec­tion with a host of oth­er media plat­forms which com­ple­ment its func­tion­al­i­ty, it did allow us to become crit­i­cal­ly aware of the con­straints of its archi­tec­ture for our atyp­i­cal goals of high­er edu­ca­tion. Thus, all assign­ments had to be pro­duced as YouTube com­ments or videos, all research had to be con­duct­ed with­in its pages, and all class­es were taped and put on to YouTube. This gim­mick, plus a press release, made the course sexy enough to catch the eye of the media, main­stream and oth­er­wise, allow­ing for an exhaust­ing, but self-reflex­ive les­son in the role and val­ue of media atten­tion with­in social net­work­ing. Beyond this, stu­dents quick­ly real­ized how well trained they actu­al­ly are to do aca­d­e­m­ic work with the word—their expertise—and how poor is their media-pro­duc­tion lit­er­a­cy (there were no media pro­duc­tion skills required for the course as there are not on YouTube). (more…)

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41 Hours in an Elevator

It’s per­haps a stretch to call this a piece of “open cul­ture,” except that the footage, using time-lapsed video to show a man stuck in an ele­va­tor for 41 hours, accom­pa­nies a piece print­ed in the lat­est edi­tion of The New York­er — Up and Then Down: The Lives of Ele­va­tors.

Then, there’s this note­wor­thy fact: the video (see below) is host­ed on The New York­er’s new YouTube site, which we have added to our col­lec­tion “60 Smart Video Col­lec­tions on YouTube.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Encyclopedia Britannica Now Free For Web Publishers

Thanks to a new pro­gram called Bri­tan­ni­ca Web­share, web pub­lish­ers — be they blog­gers, web­mas­ters, or writ­ers who post fre­quent­ly on the web — can now get free online access to Bri­tan­ni­ca and its 65,000 arti­cles. Nor­mal­ly, this ser­vice runs $70 per year. For more info, read TechCrunch’s scoop on the new ini­tia­tive. To sign up, click here.

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The Lecture That Captured the Public Imagination: From YouTube Sensation to #1 Best-Selling Book

By now, many of you have prob­a­bly seen (or at least heard about) the last lec­ture by Randy Pausch, a com­put­er sci­ence pro­fes­sor from Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­si­ty, who is dying from pan­cre­at­ic can­cer. Enti­tled “Real­ly Achiev­ing Your Child­hood Dreams,” the lec­ture (see video below) is upbeat and uplift­ing with­out being the slight­est bit morose. And it sets an exam­ple for how we can think about liv­ing and dying. The lec­ture has been watched by mil­lions on YouTube, and it serves as the basis for a new book called The Last Lec­ture, which is now the num­ber one best­seller on Ama­zon. We’ve added the video to our YouTube playlist. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it your time. It will teach you some­thing more valu­able than any­thing else we serve up here. Also, you can down­load it on iTunes.

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Water Balloon Exploding at 2,000 Frames per Second

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Global Geopolitics: A New Stanford Course on iTunes

Today we’re high­light­ing for you a new course post­ed on Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty’s iTunes site. Orig­i­nal­ly pre­sent­ed by Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies (where I hap­pi­ly spend my days), Glob­al Geopol­i­tics is taught by geog­ra­phy expert Mar­tin Lewis, and “exam­ines the glob­al polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion from a geo­graph­i­cal per­spec­tive. Top­ics include: how the coun­tries of the world were formed and came to occu­py their present ter­ri­to­r­i­al con­fig­u­ra­tions; bor­der con­flicts and oth­er spa­tial­ly based inter­na­tion­al issues; strug­gles for seces­sion from estab­lished states and move­ments for ter­ri­to­ri­al­ly based auton­o­my; and the devel­op­ment and enlarge­ment of supra­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions such as the Euro­pean Union (EU) and the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations (ASEAN). While the course is glob­al­ly com­pre­hen­sive, spe­cial atten­tion will be giv­en to cur­rent sites of geo-polit­i­cal ten­sion. Maps will be used exten­sive­ly for both descrip­tive and ana­lyt­i­cal pur­pos­es.”

[NOTE: This is an enchanced pod­cast that allows you to see images and maps ref­er­enced in the lec­tures. To view them, click on View, then Show Art­work, in iTunes. This will let you see them on your com­put­er.]

You can now down­load the first lec­ture. Addi­tion­al lec­tures will be released in week­ly install­ments. The course is also list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Online Cours­es from top uni­ver­si­ties.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.