Animated Poetry by US Poet Laureate

Bil­ly Collins, for­mer US Poet Lau­re­ate and one of Amer­i­ca’s best-sell­ing poets, reads his poem “The Dead” with ani­ma­tion by Juan Del­can of Spon­ta­neous. Take it away:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ani­mat­ed Ver­sion of Howard Zinn’s His­to­ry of the Amer­i­can Empire

An Ani­mat­ed His­to­ry of Evil

The Sto­ry of Stuff in 20 Ani­mat­ed Min­utes

Ani­mat­ed New York­er Car­toons: A Fun­ny Twist on Einstein’s Rel­a­tiv­i­ty

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Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates Connect with Everyday People (Long Version)

From the new series of Microsoft ads…


The Creator of the Wire on American Urban Decline

The Wire — it has monop­o­lized my DVD play­er since May. As many of you hope­ful­ly know, it’s a stun­ning pro­duc­tion. And if you haven’t seen it, do your­self a favor. Get a Net­flix sub­scrip­tion and devote your atten­tion to it for the next few months.

David Simon (the show’s cre­ator) has called his HBO series “a polit­i­cal tract mas­querad­ing as a cop show.” In a piece pub­lished in the UK last week — “The Esca­lat­ing Break­down of Urban Soci­ety Across the US” — he writes more direct­ly about the sub­text that runs through­out The Wire. The op-ed gets down to this fun­da­men­tal truth: “There are two Amer­i­c­as — sep­a­rate, unequal, and no longer even acknowl­edg­ing each oth­er except on the barest cul­tur­al terms. In the one nation, new mil­lion­aires are mint­ed every day. In the oth­er, human beings [read: Bal­ti­more and oth­er cities like it] no longer nec­es­sary to our econ­o­my, to our soci­ety, are being deval­ued and destroyed.”

In oth­er David Simon news, you can catch him in a wide-rang­ing inter­view record­ed ear­li­er this week in San Fran­cis­co. Catch it here. MP3iTunesFeed.

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New Yorker Fiction Podcast: Wolff Reads Dog Heaven

In the lat­est install­ment of The New York­er Fic­tion pod­cast (iTunes Feed Web Site), Tobias Wolff (author of Old School) reads Stephanie Vaughn’s short sto­ry “Dog Heav­en.”  If you’ve nev­er heard him before, Wolff gives his own work and oth­ers a very good read (see our ear­li­er piece.).

Though the pod­cast is not yet avail­able on iTunes, you can lis­ten to the mp3 right here. Also, I’d encour­age you to check out the var­i­ous New York­er pod­casts found in our Ideas & Cul­ture Pod­cast Col­lec­tion.

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Learning Chemistry on YouTube

This is per­haps a first: A uni­ver­si­ty-spon­sored video col­lec­tion on YouTube that hangs togeth­er and con­tributes to devel­op­ing a larg­er body of knowl­edge. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Not­ting­ham has launched a chan­nel called The Peri­od­ic Table of Videos, which offers a video for each ele­ment on the peri­od­ic table. In total, you will find 118 videos, includ­ing the one below that gives you a clos­er look at Ura­ni­um. And, for the record, we’ve added this video set to our com­pi­la­tion: Intel­li­gent Life at YouTube: 70 Edu­ca­tion­al Video Col­lec­tions. Here it goes:

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The Tribe: Now Playing in the YouTube Screening Room

“What can Bar­bie teach us about cul­ture? More than you might think. In this short doc­u­men­tary, direc­tor Tiffany Shlain explores mod­ern Jew­ish iden­ti­ty through the unusu­al lens of the Bar­bie doll. The Tribe was an offi­cial selec­tion of the 2006 Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val.”

Per­son­al­ly, the film strikes me as rather facile, but what does my opin­ion count next to that of Sun­dance? …

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Download Cory Doctorow’s Technology Writings (Free New Book)

A quick fyi: Boing­Bo­ing blog­ger Cory Doc­torow has released a new col­lec­tion of essays called Con­tent: Select­ed Essays on Tech­nol­o­gy, Cre­ativ­i­ty, Copy­right, and the Future of the Future. As he sum­ma­rizes it, the book fea­tures “28 essays about every­thing from copy­right and DRM to the lay­out of phone-key­pads, the fal­la­cy of the seman­tic web, the nature of futur­ism, the neces­si­ty of pri­va­cy in a dig­i­tal world, the rea­son to love Wikipedia, the mir­a­cle of fan­f­ic, and many oth­er sub­jects.” You can down­load a free PDF ver­sion here, or pur­chase a hard copy here. Also don’t miss the free tech/copyright writ­ings by Lar­ry Lessig below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load a Free Copy of Cory Doctorow’s Best­seller, Lit­tle Broth­er

Free Down­load of Cory Doctorow’s Graph­ic Nov­els

Lawrence Lessig’s Free Cul­ture: Avail­able in Text or Audio (For Free)

The Future of Ideas: Down­load Your Free Copy (and More)

Father Guido Sarducci’s Publicizes the Virtues of Art School

Any­one remem­ber Father Gui­do Sar­duc­ci from Sat­ur­day Night Live’s bet­ter days? Below, we find him cel­e­brat­ing the virtues of art school. The clip is fun­ny. But it’s even fun­nier when you con­sid­er that this was appar­ent­ly a real TV com­mer­cial made for the San Fran­cis­co Art Insti­tute in the ear­ly 1980s. The clip has been added to our YouTube playlist.  Also for anoth­er good laugh, see this pre­vi­ous bit: Father Gui­do Sarducci’s Five Minute Uni­ver­si­ty.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.