The Gates of Hell

Let me bring this to your atten­tion. Erwan Bom­stein-Erb, the founder and direc­tor of Canal Edu­catif in Paris, has released a doc­u­men­tary (in Eng­lish) about  The Gates of Hell, a mon­u­men­tal project that Auguste Rodin worked on, not nec­es­sar­i­ly con­sis­tent­ly, for 37 years. On its own, this video is worth your time. But you should also know that this is one of ten films about major art­works that Bom­stein-Erb plans to pro­duce in HD.  Canal Edu­catif is all about using the inter­net to pro­vide glob­al access to “cul­tur­al cap­i­tal.” A goal that we can whole­heart­ed­ly sup­port. This kind of phil­an­thropic ven­ture is hard to fund, espe­cial­ly dur­ing these dif­fi­cult times. So Bom­stein-Erb is look­ing for spon­sors and part­ners to sup­port his mis­sion. If you would like to get in touch, you can drop him a line through Canal Edu­cat­if’s web site. Last­ly, you should check out the Canal Edu­catif chan­nel on YouTube. Good luck Erwan. 

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Mike Wallace Interviews Ayn Rand (1959)

I’m no fan of Ayn Rand, but I found this footage intrigu­ing. Back before 60 Min­utes, Mike Wal­lace had his own TV inter­view show, The Mike Wal­lace Inter­view, which aired from 1957 to 1960. And what you get is Mike Wal­lace ask­ing prob­ing ques­tions to celebri­ties of the day (and ped­dling cig­a­rettes). An archive of the tele­vi­sion series is host­ed by The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas, and fea­tures talks with Frank Lloyd Wright, Eleanor Roo­sevelt, Sal­vador Dali and many oth­ers. In the mean­time, I leave you with Ayn Rand. You can get Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Relat­ed Con­tent

Rewind the Video­tape: Mike Wal­lace Inter­views 1950s Celebri­ties

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A Closer Look at YouTube EDU

On Thurs­day, we announced the launch of YouTube EDU. Now, as promised, it’s time to give you some more details about the new uni­ver­si­ty video hub.

I had a chance to chat with Oba­di­ah Green­berg, a key Googler behind the launch. And he gave me some insight into the gen­e­sis of the project. As you can imag­ine, YouTube EDU was­n’t built overnight. It took about a year to move from con­cept to launch. The work was dri­ven along by a team of five, and they did it using Google’s famous 20% time pol­i­cy. That is, they each com­mit­ted essen­tial­ly one day per week to bring­ing this project to fruition.

What you’re see­ing now is essen­tial­ly ver­sion 1.0. Oba­di­ah expects YouTube EDU to evolve over time, espe­cial­ly as his team gath­ers data and feed­back that will inform future iter­a­tions. But, make no mis­take, this ini­tial prod­uct has accom­plished quite a bit. It cen­tral­izes the video col­lec­tions from over 100 universities/colleges. This amounts to over 20,000 indi­vid­ual videos and 200 com­plete cours­es. It also makes these col­lec­tions much eas­i­er for new users to dis­cov­er and sift through. Back in ear­ly 2007, before YouTube real­ly start­ed work­ing with uni­ver­si­ties, I kvetched in a pub­lic radio inter­view that GooTube could do more to orga­nize the world of intel­lec­tu­al video, and now I cer­tain­ly have a lot less to com­plain about (although I do still see some impor­tant tweaks that could be made here and there).

The uni­ver­si­ties par­tic­i­pat­ing in YouTube EDU have also had an upbeat response. Both Scott Stock­er (Direc­tor of Web Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Stan­ford) and Genevieve Haines (Direc­tor of Inte­grat­ed Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at UCLA) wel­comed the idea that many new vis­i­tors will encounter their video col­lec­tions. As Genevieve put it, it’s nev­er a bad thing when the world’s top video shar­ing site makes a big com­mit­ment to uni­ver­si­ty con­tent. This move opens up many long range pos­si­bil­i­ties for edu­ca­tors and stu­dents, she says. But, over the short term, it guar­an­tees that schools will learn more about how the wider pub­lic engages with their videos. By look­ing at traf­fic pat­terns and user com­ments left on YouTube, the uni­ver­si­ty teams will find out whether there’s a real mar­ket for seri­ous lec­tures and cours­es, or whether users pre­fer lighter fare, or some com­bi­na­tion of the two. With this knowl­edge in hand, media strate­gies will be revised.

For Ben Hub­bard, who man­ages the web­cast­ing ini­tia­tive at UC Berke­ley, YouTube EDU offers anoth­er perk. He told me: “There are a lot of uni­ver­si­ties and oth­er cen­ters for learn­ing engaged with their local com­mu­ni­ties on YouTube, but it has­n’t always been very easy to find them. YouTube EDU makes it much eas­i­er for us to locate our peer insti­tu­tions, con­nect around com­mon inter­ests, and per­haps even engage with one anoth­er in a more mean­ing­ful and pro­duc­tive way to cre­ate (or make more rich) a com­mu­ni­ty of best prac­tices.”

But per­haps the biggest plus is reserved for you and me.  The Google team antic­i­pates that the vis­i­bil­i­ty of this project will open the flood­gates, bring­ing many more uni­ver­si­ties to YouTube EDU in the com­ing months. This means that many more free lec­tures and cours­es will be com­ing online. A big plus for any read­er of this blog. We’ll mon­i­tor all of this, and keep you post­ed as things move along …

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New Mega Author Web Site Now Online

Not­ed by the LA Times:

With­out per­mis­sion or advance notice, Filed­ByAu­thor has cat­a­loged the infor­ma­tion of about 1.8 mil­lion authors into indi­vid­ual pages. There are biogra­phies, pho­tos, links to pur­chase books from online retail­ers and links to share the author’s Filed­By page through a dizzy­ing list of social net­work­ing sites. And every­one is there, from the novice self-pub­lished author to Stephe­nie Mey­er.

The not so favor­able LA Times piece con­tin­ues here. Get the Filed­ByAu­thor web site here.

Download New Bob Dylan (Free for the Next 24 Hours)

A heads up from Stephen:

Free mp3 of Behind Here Lies Noth­in’ from Dylan’s new album avail­able at until 5.00 a.m. tomor­row (Time zone?) Very good it sounds too. Shades of Ry Cood­er. Wish­ful think­ing maybe…

Thanks SG

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John Hope Franklin on Obama

John Hope Franklin, a pro­lif­ic his­to­ri­an who shaped our under­stand­ing of the African-Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence and influ­enced the Civ­il Rights move­ment, died last week at 94. He was the grand­son of a slave, and knew the Jim Crow South first­hand. Above, we see him talk­ing just last sum­mer about the nom­i­na­tion of Barack Oba­ma, and whether he ever thought he’d live to see this day.


Art Inspired Poetry

An FYI for art and poet­ry lovers: “Each month, TATE ETC. pub­lish­es new poet­ry by lead­ing poets such as John Burn­side, Moniza Alvi, Adam Thor­pe, Alice Oswald and David Harsent who respond to works from the Tate Col­lec­tion. (Sub­scribe to the Poem of the Month RSS feed.) This March Roger McGough presents his poem, Cadeau, based on Man Ray’s work of the same name.” Find the art and poem here.

Prague’s Franz Kafka International Named World’s Most Alienating Airport

A fun­ny lit­tle piece from The Onion. Thanks to JB for send­ing this along. Keep send­ing us good items @openculture on Twit­ter, or via email at

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