Great Literature in Three Lines or Less

Here’s 1984, Moby Dick, Par­adise Lost, The Great Gats­by and oth­er clas­sics boiled down to three lines, cour­tesy of McSweeny’s.

How’s This for a Book Trailer?

A cou­ple weeks ago we talked about a new trend in the book pub­lish­ing world — cre­at­ing pro­mo­tion­al videos for new books and let­ting them go viral on YouTube and oth­er social video sites. Here’s one of the bet­ter exam­ples I’ve seen. 12 books by Lemo­ny Snick­et get pro­mot­ed at once. Lots of bang for the mar­ket­ing buck:


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Salman Rushdie’s Book Tour Rolls Through Google

Salman Rushdie’s lat­est book, The Enchantress of Flo­rence: A Nov­el, has hit the streets. And it comes just three years after his last one, Shal­i­mar the Clown, which makes him a good deal more pro­lif­ic than many of his con­tem­po­raries. (A piece in The Guardian — The Great Amer­i­can Pause — notes that many cel­e­brat­ed nov­el­ists have been pub­lish­ing books a bit more leisure­ly, often once every 10, 12 or even 20 years.) Dur­ing his book tour last week, Rushdie trav­eled to Google’s HQ, where, among oth­er things, he talked about how he used Google and oth­er online tools to do the his­tor­i­cal research for The Enchantress of Flo­rence. The talk runs a good 70 min­utes, and it takes you through the process that brought his work from con­cept to real­i­ty. Watch the video below.

Want to know how to add YouTube videos to your iPod? Then check out our piece: 10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Bet­ter Learn­ing Gad­get.

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The Candid Side of George Carlin

A quick find … I want­ed to flag a good inter­view with George Car­lin where he talks can­did­ly about his evo­lu­tion as a com­ic and the strange tra­jec­to­ry of his career. The con­ver­sa­tion was held at the 92nd Street Y in New York. You can down­load it here: iTunesFeedMP3Blog Post.

Also see the 92nd Street Y’s col­lec­tion on iTunes here, which we men­tioned in our ear­li­er post today.

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iTunesU Goes Beyond The Campus: Spotlight on the ResearchChannel

In case you haven’t been watch­ing … Apple’s iTune­sU has start­ed strik­ing out in new direc­tions. When it launched a lit­tle more than a year ago, iTune­sU served up free edu­ca­tion­al con­tent exclu­sive­ly from uni­ver­si­ties. Now, it has gone “beyond the cam­pus.”

With this move, Apple is now fea­tur­ing edi­fy­ing mate­r­i­al from such insti­tu­tions as The New York Pub­lic Library (see our relat­ed piece), the 92nd Street Y (nice look­ing col­lec­tion here), the Nation­al Sci­ence Dig­i­tal Library, and the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies. Also in the mix, you’ll find pod­casts from the ResearchChan­nel. Based out of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, the ResearchChan­nel brings togeth­er con­tent from lead­ing research and aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions (see mem­ber list here), and then dis­trib­utes it to con­sumers most­ly through satel­lite and cable, but also via the web. iTune­sU is a fair­ly new dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nel. And even new­er is YouTube. (See their chan­nel here.)

What kind of con­tent does the ResearchChan­nel serve up? Here’s a sam­pling of the pro­grams you’ll find: Dark Ener­gy, or Worse: Was Ein­stein Wrong?; Bioen­er­gy and Bio­fu­els: An Overview; The Psy­chol­o­gy of Blink: Under­stand­ing How the Mind Works Uncon­scious­ly; The Teen Brain; and Mesopotamia to Iraq: Per­spec­tives on the Mid­dle East.

The ResearchChan­nel, I should men­tion, is not the only ven­ture in this line of busi­ness. The UChan­nel (for­mer­ly the Uni­ver­si­ty Chan­nel), com­ing out of Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, offers a rather sim­i­lar prod­uct: Web siteiTunesRss feedYouTube . Like­wise, FORA.TV does a good job of aggre­gat­ing smart video: Web siteiTunesRss feedsYouTube.

For more smart audio con­tent, check our Ideas & Cul­ture Pod­cast Col­lec­tion.

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RIP: George Carlin on the Tonight Show (1966)

Here’s the obit. And here’s Car­lin with John­ny Car­son over 40 years ago, sport­ing a very dif­fer­ent look. Rather remark­able to look at.

Also worth a look is his famous piece: Sev­en Dirty Words You Can’t Hear on TV because it formed the basis for a first amend­ment case that went to the US Supreme Court in the 1970s. Obvi­ous­ly, giv­en the very nature of the con­tent and case, you should know in advance that the video is not exact­ly “fam­i­ly-friend­ly” video.

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Zurich Chamber Orchestra Animated on YouTube

The Roller Coast­er…

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YouTube’s New Screening Room (Free Indie Films)

YouTube just launched its new “Screen­ing Room,” and there’s a good chance that the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val will nev­er quite be the same again.

The Screen­ing Room presents high qual­i­ty, inde­pen­dent films to YouTube users and promis­es to roll out four new films every two weeks. Giv­en YouTube’s immense reach, these indies will imme­di­ate­ly find a vast inter­na­tion­al audi­ence. Then, to sweet­en the deal even fur­ther, YouTube will offer film­mak­ers a major cut of the adver­tis­ing rev­enue gen­er­at­ed by the view­ing of each video. Plus, hard and dig­i­tal copies of the films can be sold as well. If this new ven­ture gains trac­tion (and you have to think it will), YouTube could sud­den­ly find itself the cen­ter of grav­i­ty for the indie world, dis­plac­ing Sun­dance along the way.

The first four films fea­tured in The Screen­ing Room are hard­ly duds. The Dan­ish Poet won the 2007 Oscar for best ani­mat­ed short; Love and War won the same award at the Los Ange­les Film Fes­ti­val; Our Time Is Up got an Oscar nom­i­na­tion in 2006; and then there’s Miran­da July’s “Are You the Favorite Per­son of Any­body?. The next batch of films comes out July 4. For more info, see this piece in the LA Times.

Adden­dum: I have since stum­bled upon this video that promotes/tells you more about the Screen­ing Room.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.