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.