The New York Times Picks Five Online Lectures

In case this got lost over the week­end I am bump­ing it back up: The New York Times has a piece run­ning this week­end that sur­veys the land­scape of online uni­ver­si­ty lec­tures. (Get a jum­bo list of free cours­es here.) Along the way, they focus on five lec­tures that “no one should miss.” They are as fol­lows:

1.) Wal­ter H. G. Lewin, Pow­ers of 10 (M.I.T.)

2.) Randy Pausch, Real­ly Achiev­ing Your Child­hood Dreams (Carnegie Mel­lon)

3.) Dan Ariely, Pre­dictably Irra­tional (Duke and M.I.T.)

We post­ed this one below.

4.) Lang­don Ham­mer, Mod­ern Poet­ry (Yale)

5.) Chris­tine Hayes, Intro­duc­tion to the Old Tes­ta­ment (Yale)

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Chris Rock on Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin and Shooting Moose

Because it’s elec­tion sea­son and Rock cracks me up …

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Live Performances at AOL Sessions

Cour­tesy of Metafil­ter:

AOL Ses­sions has live videos from more than 150 dif­fer­ent artists spe­cial­ly record­ed for the series. Here are just a few of the artists on offer: Paul McCart­ney, Bri­an Wil­son, Mod­est Mouse, Tom Pet­ty, Red Hot Chili Pep­pers, Weez­er, Sarah McLach­lan, Bon­nie Raitt, Iggy Pop, and more. To the left of the videos there’s a Q&A link that has short inter­view videos with the artists as well as behind the scenes footage and longer inter­views.”

Beatboxing Flute

To the tune of the Inspec­tor Gad­get Theme. So far viewed 14.5 mil­lion times. Pret­ty amaz­ing. Take it away (and check out the musi­cian’s CD here) …

Added to our YouTube playlist.

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Philip Roth’s New Novel: Read The First Chapter

Philip Roth’s lat­est is out. And, as one review­er described it, the nov­el, like his last two, is “ruth­less­ly eco­nom­i­cal and relent­less­ly death­bound.” You can read the first chap­ter of Indig­na­tion here for free. Or, buy the nov­el here.

The 2008 Bailout v. The Great Depression Bailouts

Key­ing off an opin­ion piece by Paul Krug­man, Eric Rauch­way, an Amer­i­can his­to­ri­an (and also an old grad school col­league of mine), offers an intrigu­ing analy­sis of the Bush/Paulson bailout and how it com­pares to the Hoover and FDR bailouts from the Depres­sion era. The dif­fer­ence between 1932/33 and 2008? In 2008 (get text of leaked plan here), Con­gress will have no over­sight and the exec­u­tive branch will be “behold­en to nobody and sub­ject to no review.” (Sound vague­ly famil­iar?) There will also be no stat­ed restric­tions on how much a giv­en cor­po­ra­tion can be assist­ed, and no require­ment that cor­po­ra­tions give the gov­ern­ment any­thing back in turn. (There’s not even a require­ment that the gov­ern­ment buy the bad debt for fair mar­ket val­ue.) Back in the 30s, how­ev­er,  “All loans had to be secured, couldn’t be made on for­eign secu­ri­ties or accep­tances, no more than 5% of the mon­ey could go to any one com­pa­ny, couldn’t exceed three years’ term, couldn’t pay fees or com­mis­sion to appli­cants for loans, and so forth. Rail­roads accept­ing such loans had to do so under terms accept­able to the reg­u­la­to­ry Inter­state Com­merce Com­mis­sion.”

The idea of hand­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion anoth­er blank check is hard­ly a hap­py one. We’ve been down that road before and things did­n’t exact­ly go smooth­ly.  But then again I’m not sure that the 1930s offers won­der­ful mod­els for cat­a­stro­phe man­age­ment (not that Rauch­way is say­ing that). Let’s hope that our lead­ers take a lit­tle time to think things through.

And, by the way, New Rule: No one on Wall Street should be allowed to make more than six fig­ures until they’ve cleaned up their mess and reim­bursed the tax­pay­ers. Yes, wish­ful think­ing I know, since appar­ent­ly Lehman, even hav­ing gone bank­rupt, has found a way to a share a $2.5 bil­lion bonus pool.

Solar Eclipse Seen From Outer Space

The NASA STEREO space­craft sees the disk of the Moon pass in front of the Sun in a view nev­er seen before by human eyes.” For more videos, see The Bad Astron­o­my chan­nel on YouTube, which we’ve added to our col­lec­tion: Intel­li­gent Life at YouTube: 70 Edu­ca­tion­al Video Col­lec­tions.

What It Feels Like To Have a Stroke (And More About Your Brain)

From the TedTalks con­fer­ence. Fas­ci­nat­ing talk. Here’s a sum­ma­ry that intro­duces the clip below …

“Neu­roanatomist Jill Bolte Tay­lor had an oppor­tu­ni­ty few brain sci­en­tists would wish for: One morn­ing, she real­ized she was hav­ing a mas­sive stroke. As it hap­pened — as she felt her brain func­tions slip away one by one, speech, move­ment, under­stand­ing — she stud­ied and remem­bered every moment. This is a pow­er­ful sto­ry about how our brains define us and con­nect us to the world and to one anoth­er.” Added to our YouTube playlist.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.