Put Tolstoy, Twain and Others on Your Mobile Phone

A good find over at Metafil­ter. Des­jardins asks “Need a lit­tle Tol­stoy while you’re wait­ing in line? How about some Mark Twain on the sub­way? Booksin­my­phone puts — sur­prise! — books in your phone, for free.” For more details on how to down­load clas­sics to your (java-enabled) mobile phone, check out their FAQ.  

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John Lennon Returns to Promote “One Laptop Per Child”

Thanks to some dig­i­tal hocus pocus, John Lennon is back and help­ing pro­mote One Lap­top Per Child, a char­i­ty work­ing to bring cheap com­put­ers and inter­net access to chil­dren in devel­op­ing coun­tries. Done with the approval of Yoko Ono, the com­mer­cial stitch­es togeth­er old record­ings of Lennon’s voice and adds at least a cou­ple of new words (did Lennon ever say “lap­top”?). In the end, it all comes out fair­ly seam­less­ly. If you want to give a lap­top (start­ing at $199) and change the world, go here. Oth­er­wise, here’s John:

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via Goings On via Rolling Stone

The Life of a Star: 12 Billion Years in Six Minutes

Voila, the birth, life and death of a G‑type star, like our Sun. 12 bil­lion years boiled down to six sim­ple min­utes. We’ve added it to our YouTube Favorites.

One Year in 40 seconds

Here’s what it looks like if you plant a cam­era in the same loca­tion for one year and snap pho­tos through­out the chang­ing sea­sons. Video is strik­ing but ran­dom. So we’re fil­ing it under “Ran­dom.”


Unauthorized Beatles Masterpieces

This week­end’s New York Times ran a piece detail­ing how the record indus­try has dithered and con­tin­u­al­ly failed to release sev­er­al long-await­ed Bea­t­les’ projects. It also men­tioned how fans and col­lec­tors have forged ahead and put togeth­er unau­tho­rized boot­leg projects, some of which the Times calls “cura­to­r­i­al mas­ter­pieces.” In par­tic­u­lar, the arti­cle high­lights the Pur­ple Chick label, which “has assem­bled deluxe edi­tions of each com­mer­cial­ly released [Bea­t­les] album, offer­ing the orig­i­nal discs in their mono and stereo mix­es, along with the sin­gles (also in mono and stereo) released at the time, as well as every known demo, stu­dio out­take and alter­na­tive mix.” Some of Pur­ple Chick­’s include “Bea­t­les Deluxe” (which cov­ers 10 CDs);  “A/B Road” (which gives you 96 hours of the “Let It Be” ses­sions); and a series of BBC radio per­for­mances. 

So how do you get this stuff? It’s a ques­tion that Rolling Stone asked rhetor­i­cal­ly when it recent­ly gave anoth­er pos­i­tive review to Pur­ple Chick record­ings. And it answered the ques­tion with this: “Google is your friend: Try search­ing ‘pur­ple chick and megau­pload’ to get start­ed.”

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The Clash of Civilizations (and the Passing of its Author)

When the twin tow­ers were tak­en down in Sep­tem­ber 2001, Amer­i­ca looked to make sense of what hap­pened. And it was­n’t long before many start­ed turn­ing to The Clash of Civ­i­liza­tions and the Remak­ing of World Order, a book writ­ten by Samuel Hunt­ing­ton, the Har­vard poli sci pro­fes­sor who passed on last week.

The book itself was an elab­o­ra­tion upon a con­tro­ver­sial arti­cle that Hunt­ing­ton pub­lished in For­eign Affairs in 1993. In the open­ing lines, he wrote: “World pol­i­tics is enter­ing a new phase… It is my hypoth­e­sis that the fun­da­men­tal source of con­flict in this new world will not be pri­mar­i­ly ide­o­log­i­cal or pri­mar­i­ly eco­nom­ic. The great divi­sions among humankind and the dom­i­nat­ing source of con­flict will be cul­tur­al. Nation states will remain the most pow­er­ful actors in world affairs, but the prin­ci­pal con­flicts of glob­al pol­i­tics will occur between nations and groups of dif­fer­ent civ­i­liza­tions. The clash of civ­i­liza­tions will be the bat­tle lines of the future.” Par­tic­u­lar­ly he sug­gest­ed, it would be the “West ver­sus the Rest,” and with­in the lat­ter cat­e­go­ry, he lumped in Islam.

Below, we have post­ed Hunt­ing­ton’s 1997 appear­ance on the Char­lie Rose show, where he expand­ed on his world view. You can also get Edward Said’s gen­er­al retort, The Myth of the Clash of Civ­i­liza­tions, here and Noam Chom­sky’s thoughts on the con­cept here.

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Remembering Harold Pinter

Harold Pin­ter, the Nobel Prize-win­ning play­wright, died in Lon­don on Wednes­day. As The New York Times obit men­tions, when Pin­ter won the Nobel in 2005, his declin­ing health pre­vent­ed him from attend­ing the awards cer­e­mo­ny in Stock­holm. Instead, he gave his accep­tance lec­ture  — “Art, Truth & Pol­i­tics” — via a record­ed video, which we’re post­ing below. (You can also watch it on the Nobel web site here or alter­na­tive­ly read the tran­script.) The speech runs a good 45 min­utes.

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Christmas Under Fire (1940)

Here’s a log­i­cal (but unplanned) fol­low up to our pre­vi­ous post that looked back at Christ­mas Eve dur­ing World War I.

Here we present a Christ­mas pro­pa­gan­da film that came out of Eng­land dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Britain is under Ger­man siege. But it’s endur­ing the Blitz and keep­ing a stiff upper lip, and Christ­mas will go on … if only under­ground. Britain’s chil­dren won’t be cheat­ed out of this. This clip, which reminds us that, eco­nom­ic prob­lems aside, we have much to be thank­ful for, comes from the British Film Insti­tute Nation­al Archive on YouTube, which we’re now adding to our col­lec­tion: Intel­li­gent Life at YouTube: 80 Edu­ca­tion­al Video Col­lec­tions.

via Crooked Tim­ber

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.