Farewell to Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning his­to­ri­an of the every­man, has passed away at the ripe old age of 96. (Get the NYTimes obit here.) Below, we have a lengthy con­ver­sa­tion with Terkel, record­ed when he was 91. As you’ll see, being a nona­ge­nar­i­an did lit­tle to slow him down.

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From the Civil War to the Vietnam War — The Geography of US Presidential Elections

The Geog­ra­phy of US Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tions keeps rolling along. With his well-craft­ed lec­tures, Mar­tin Lewis shows you this week how Amer­i­ca’s polit­i­cal map and its polit­i­cal par­ties changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly fol­low­ing the Civ­il War. In the space of 90 min­utes, he takes you through the Recon­struc­tion peri­od, The Gild­ed Age, the Depres­sion, World War II and The Cold War, up through the Viet­nam War.

You can down­load Lec­ture 3 via Tunes U in high res­o­lu­tion or watch the YouTube ver­sion below. And, as always, you can join the ongo­ing con­ver­sa­tion with the pro­fes­sor and oth­er stu­dents world­wide right here.

There are still two more lec­tures to come, includ­ing one that will offer a post­mortem of next week’s elec­tion.

Last­ly, if you missed the pre­vi­ous lec­tures, you can grab them on iTunes here and YouTube here.

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“Angels We Have Heard On High” Played with Broccoli


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The 13th Amendment

This week, CNN announced the win­ners of the iRe­port Film Fes­ti­val, the network’s first user-gen­er­at­ed short film com­pe­ti­tion. The fes­ti­val “chal­lenged film­mak­ers to doc­u­ment this year’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign from their per­son­al van­tage point, whether they were vol­un­teer­ing for a cam­paign or had com­pelling sto­ries about this elec­tion they want­ed to doc­u­ment cre­ative­ly.” And the Grand Jury Award went to a short film called “13th Amend­ment.” Here, Mike Den­nis of Philadel­phia, Pa., fol­lows his 90-year-old grand­moth­er, who is African Amer­i­can, on her jour­ney to vote for the first seri­ous black can­di­date for the Amer­i­can pres­i­den­cy. (And, by the way, in case you were won­der­ing, the 13th Amend­ment banned slav­ery in the Unit­ed States in 1865.) Here it goes:

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The Political Wire

I’ve spent the past sev­er­al months work­ing through The Wire on DVD. A sim­ply bril­liant show. (Here’s a recap of Sea­son 1 in case you don’t know what you’re miss­ing. And for even more recaps click here.) Now some mem­bers of the cast, the good guys and the bad, have rolled out a com­mer­cial encour­ag­ing North Car­oli­na res­i­dents to get out the vote on Tues­day. It’s a good idea for all Amer­i­can vot­ers, no mat­ter who you sup­port in this race. Thanks to Kot­tke for point it out. Here it goes:

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Darwin’s Legacy

For weeks, it’s been one of the most pop­u­lar pod­casts on iTunes: Cre­at­ed by the Cas­siopeia Project, “Evo­lu­tion” (iTune­sU) offers a series of video pod­casts that explains what sci­en­tists know about evo­lu­tion in a visu­al­ly appeal­ing for­mat. (If you don’t have an iPod, you can always watch the series on your com­put­er by down­load­ing iTunes here.)

This all gives me a good excuse to high­light anoth­er pod­cast com­ing out of my pro­gram at Stan­ford. To com­mem­o­rate the 200th anniver­sary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniver­sary of the pub­li­ca­tion of On the Ori­gin of Species, we’re pre­sent­ing a course called Dar­win’s Lega­cy. (Access for free on iTunes here.) Led by Bill Durham, a MacArthur (“genius grant”) Prize Win­ner and Pro­fes­sor of Anthro­pol­o­gy, the course brings togeth­er lead­ing Dar­win schol­ars from around the coun­try and explores Darwin’s lega­cy in fields as diverse as anthro­pol­o­gy, reli­gion, med­i­cine, psy­chol­o­gy, phi­los­o­phy, lit­er­a­ture, and biol­o­gy. Among oth­ers, you will find here talks (cap­tured in video) by Daniel Den­nett and Janet Browne (author of the defin­i­tive two-vol­ume Dar­win biog­ra­phy.) To access the com­plete course via iTunes, which is being rolled out in week­ly install­ments, sim­ply click here. Down the road, we will also be mak­ing the course avail­able on YouTube. For many oth­er free uni­ver­si­ty cours­es, click here

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Elephant Jumping On Trampoline

This is half art/half ran­dom, or maybe it’s bet­ter to say half random/half art. Any­way, it calls to mind one of our pop­u­lar posts (Ele­phant Paint­ing) from months to go. So here it is, an ani­mat­ed short by Nico­las Deveaux.

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What Makes a Poem a Poem in 60 Seconds

A rather clever mini, mini-lec­ture from Charles Bern­stein, poet and pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, would­n’t you say?

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.