Free Stanford Computer Science & Engineering Courses Now Online

Stan­ford Engi­neer­ing Every­where is a new project rolling out of Stan­ford, and it’s mak­ing avail­able to any­one, any­where 10 com­plete online com­put­er sci­ence and elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing cours­es. This includes the three-course Intro­duc­tion to Com­put­er Sci­ence series tak­en by the major­i­ty of Stan­ford under­grad­u­ates.

The top-notch cours­es are free, which means that we’ve added them to our large col­lec­tion of Free Online Cours­es. They’re also acces­si­ble via mul­ti­ple for­mats (YouTube, iTunes, tor­rents, etc.) and released under a Cre­ative Com­mons License, allow­ing stu­dents and edu­ca­tors world­wide to use these cours­es for their own edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es. They come com­plete with hand­outs, assign­ments, exer­cis­es and soft­ware. Quite a good deal, I must say. Below, we’ve post­ed the ini­tial line­up of cours­es. Def­i­nite­ly check them out.

Intro­duc­tion to Com­put­er Sci­ence

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

Ten Days That Shook the Financial World

If you’re won­der­ing why so many domi­nos (Fan­nie & Fred­die, Lehman Broth­ers, Mer­rill Lynch, AIG) have fall­en so swift­ly this past week, give a lis­ten to today’s episode of Fresh Air (iTunesRSS FeedStream Here). It fea­tures Michael Green­berg­er who gives a very lucid expla­na­tion of how/why our unreg­u­lat­ed shad­ow finan­cial sys­tem final­ly col­lapsed, and why the gov­ern­ment is sprint­ing to social­ize the loss. Good stuff here.

Sep­a­rate­ly, in anoth­er won­der­ful case of Amer­i­ca reward­ing utter fail­ure, you can read all about how Mer­rill CEO John Thain and his two senior lieu­tenants will get $200 mil­lion for “less than a year’s work which cul­mi­nat­ed … in the bank sur­ren­der­ing its 94-year-old inde­pen­dence.” Pathet­ic.

Free Presidential Biographies on iTunes: FDR and Beyond

Thanks to PBS, you can now down­load from iTunes a four-hour defin­i­tive biog­ra­phy of Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt. FDR guid­ed the US through the Great Depres­sion, then World War II, serv­ing as pres­i­dent for an unprece­dent­ed four terms. The video pod­cast run a good four hours, and it’s part of a series called Amer­i­can Expe­ri­ence: The Pres­i­dents. Oth­er pres­i­dents fea­tured in this series include Har­ry Tru­man, Lyn­don John­son, Richard Nixon, Jim­my Carter, and Ronald Rea­gan. You can watch more videos from The Amer­i­can Expe­ri­ence series online by click­ing here.

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When Fiction Failed David Foster Wallace

The news of David Fos­ter Wal­lace’s sui­cide came as a shock. 46, supreme­ly tal­ent­ed, and gone. We’re not left with much. His books, his essays, and the under­stand­able desire to find some link between his writ­ing and his end. Here’s a line that caught my atten­tion from David Stre­it­feld’s blog. (He’s a for­mer books edi­tor at The Boston Globe, and now a reporter for The New York Times.)

Fic­tion, [DFW once said], is “one of the few expe­ri­ences where lone­li­ness can be both con­front­ed and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud par­ties — all these chase away lone­li­ness by mak­ing me for­get my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no oth­er par­ty can pen­e­trate or know. Fic­tion, poet­ry, music, real­ly deep seri­ous sex, and, in var­i­ous ways, reli­gion — these are the places (for me) where lone­li­ness is coun­te­nanced, stared down, trans­fig­ured, treat­ed.” Maybe he asked too much of fic­tion. Maybe it failed him in the end, and there was noth­ing left.

A Movie For Our Times

Released last month, this Sun­dance 2008 selec­tion speaks direct­ly to Amer­i­can finan­cial mis­steps:

I.O.U.S.A. — One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt.

Pret­ty time­ly. Watch a short trail­er here or a longer intro below, and get more on the film here.

How Did We Get Into This Financial Mess? This American Life Explains

The stock mar­kets are bleed­ing red today. Lehman Broth­ers has gone BK, even though it nev­er had a quar­ter­ly loss as a pub­lic com­pa­ny until this past June. The finan­cial sys­tem is a com­plete mess.

How did we get into what Alan Greenspan has called a “once-in-a-cen­tu­ry” finan­cial cri­sis? Let me refer you back to an episode of This Amer­i­can Life (“The Giant Pool of Mon­ey”) which we fea­tured ear­li­er this year. (Lis­ten here.) Step by step, the show traces in its trade­mark, enter­tain­ing way how this cred­it deba­cle took shape. Along the way, you’ll dis­cov­er how 70 tril­lion dol­lars of glob­al mon­ey need­ed to get parked some­where, and it found the US hous­ing mar­ket. As the mon­ey poured in, the Amer­i­can invest­ment com­mu­ni­ty cranked out as many mort­gages as it could. And when there were no more qual­i­fied home buy­ers left, the banks start­ed low­er­ing lend­ing stan­dards until there were none left. In the end, even dead peo­ple were get­ting mort­gages (sad­ly, a true sto­ry). Give the pod­cast a lis­ten. The whole deba­cle gets pieced togeth­er in a way that you’ve prob­a­bly nev­er heard before.

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Tina Fey Has Sarah Palin Down

File this under comedy/satire, Tina Fey has her Sarah Palin impres­sion nailed. If the video below ceas­es to work, you can always watch the clip (in bet­ter res­o­lu­tion, I might add) right here.

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Writer David Foster Wallace Found Dead at 46 (Rewind the Video Tape)

Hor­ri­ble sto­ry and loss. Appar­ent­ly sui­cide. Obit here. More exten­sive NY Times look back at DFW’s career here.

Below, we have a clip of him read­ing a piece that he wrote for Harper’s. Also see our pre­vi­ous item: David Fos­ter Wal­lace: Decider­iza­tion 2007 Online, which includes a link to the essay he wrote for Best Amer­i­can Essays 2007. You can get yet anoth­er piece of short fic­tion online here as well.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.